Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Model of a Slaughter House

Period:
Middle Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 12
Reign:
early reign of Amenemhat I
Date:
ca. 1981–1975 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Southern Asasif, Tomb of Meketre (TT 280, MMA 1101), MMA excavations, 1920
Medium:
Wood, paint, plaster
Dimensions:
L. 76.8 cm (30 1/4 in.); W. 58.5 cm (23 1/16 in.); greatest H. 58.5 cm (23 1/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1920
Accession Number:
20.3.10
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 105
This model of a meat processing installation was found with twenty three other models of boats, gardens, and workshops 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 oxen are being slaughtered in the large hall. Their legs have been trussed together and two men are cutting their throats. Opposite these men, two others hold bowls to catch the blood which will be made into pudding by the men in the corner fanning fires under kettles. An overseer and a clerk, holding batons, superintend the slaughtering and the plucking of a goose. On the balcony above hang joints of meat. The cords holding joints of meat have been restored.
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.

Link to a blog about ancient architectural models
Modeling the World: Ancient Architectural Models Now on View
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1920. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1920.

Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Part I: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 167, 263, fig. 170.

Posener, Georges 1959. Dictionnaire de la civilisation égyptienne. Paris: F. Hazan, p. 6.

Hibbard, Howard 1980. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Harper & Row, 30, fig. 42.

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, subject of the article, pls. I-III.

Roehrig, Catharine H. 2015. "Model of a Slaughterhouse." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 208, no. 143.

Oppenheim, Adela 2015. "Introduction: What Was the Middle Kingdom?." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 6.

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: 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: 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: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 120.

Arnold, Dieter and Adela Oppenheim 2015. "Excavations by The Metropolitan Museum of Art at Middle Kingdom Sites." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 313.

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