This funerary procession was discovered in a hidden chamber at the side of the passage leading into the rock cut tomb of the royal chief steward Meketre, who began his career under King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II of Dynasty 11 and continued to serve successive kings into the early years of Dynasty 12.
Two men and two women, probably Meketre's sons and daughters, walk in step on a narrow base. Its yellow color places the scene in the desert on the way to the tomb. The first man carries a large libation vase and an incense burner for use in an offering ritual; the second balances a pile of linen on his head. One linen sheet is dyed red. Linen was an indispensable part of every Egyptian burial: the mummified body was wrapped in it, and folded linen sheets filled the coffin above the mummy. Both women have baskets–the first containing beer bottles and conical loaves of bread, the second containing square loaves–and both women hold geese or ducks by their wings. Together the group is equipped with all the essentials for a proper burial and funeral ritual.
All the accessible rooms in the tomb of Meketre had been robbed and plundered already during Antiquity; but early in 1920 the Museum's excavator, Herbert Winlock, wanted to obtain an accurate floor plan of the tomb's layout for his map of the Eleventh Dynasty necropolis at Thebes and, therefore, had his workmen clean out the accumulated debris. It was during this cleaning operation that the small hidden chamber was discovered, filled with twenty-four almost perfectly preserved models. Eventually, half of these went to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, and the other half came to the Metropolitan Museum in the partition of finds.
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Dimensions:L. 47.5 cm (18 11/16 in.); W. 7.2 cm (2 13/16 in); H. of base 3 cm (1 3/16 in.); H. of figures 24 cm. (10 5/8 in.)
Credit Line:Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1920
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1920. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1920.
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Vandier, Jacques 1958. Manuel d'archéologie égyptienne: Les grandes époques: La statuaire, 3. Paris, 154.
Fischer, Henry G. 1977. The Orientation of Hieroglyphs, Egyptian Studies, 2. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8, fig. 3.
Roehrig, Catharine H. 2002. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, new ser., vol. 60, no. 1 (Summer), New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 21, fig. 25.
Arnold, Dorothea 2005. "The Architecture of Meketre's Slaughterhouse and Other Early Twelfth Dynasty Wooden Models." In Structure and Significance in Egyptian Architecture: Thoughts on Ancient Egyptian Architecture [Festschrift Dieter Arnold], 33, pp. 35, 43 and n164.
Roehrig, Catharine H. 2015. "Model of a Procession of Offering Bearers." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 225, no. 162.
Arnold, Dorothea 2015. "Statues in Their Settings: Encountering the Divine." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 19.
Quirke, Stephen 2015. "Understanding Death: A Journey between Worlds." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 220.
Grajetzki, Wolfram 2015. "The Pharaoh's Subjects: Court and Provinces." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 120.
Freed, Rita 2015. "The "Bersheh Procession" in Context. Part I: An Art Historical Examination." In The Art and Culture of Ancient Egypt: Studies in Honor of Dorothea Arnold, edited by Adela Oppenheim and Ogden Goelet. Bulletin of the Egyptological Seminar, vol. 19, pp. 301-2, 319 fig. 12.
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