ca. 1981–1802 B.C.
From Egypt; Said to be from Upper Egypt, Thebes or Northern Upper Egypt, Akhmim (Khemmis, Panopolis)
Wood, gesso, paint
L. 43 cm (16 15/16 in); w. 19 cm (7 1/2 in)
Gift of Edward S. Harkness, 1928
Gessoed boards were used for writing notes or school exercises. Like the slate writing tablets of yesteryear, they could be used repeatedly, with old texts being whitewashed to provide a “clean slate” for another. This board still bears traces of earlier writing (at left). The main text is a wordy model letter that the student copied—and surely also was expected to memorize. His many spelling mistakes have been corrected in red ink by the teacher.