Facsimile Painting of Geese, Tomb of Nefermaat and Itet

Original: Old Kingdom

Charles K. Wilkinson

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 103

This facsimile copies a painting from the early Dynasty 4 tomb of Nefermaat and Itet at Meidum, the original of which is now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo (Cairo CG 1742). The geese were once part of a larger scene found on the north wall in the tomb chapel of Itet, the wife of the vizier Nefermaat, and likely the daughter-in-law of King Snefru. As members of the royal family, the pair was granted a large mastaba tomb close to the pyramid of the king and could employ the most sought-after artists of the day to help in its decoration. The geese were depicted below a scene showing men trapping birds in a clap net and offering them to the tomb’s owner. While it is not uncommon to find scenes of fowling in the marshes in Old Kingdom tombs, this example is one of the earliest and is notable for the extraordinary quality of the painting. The artist took great care in rendering the colors and textures of the birds’ feathers and even included serrated bills on the two geese bending to graze.

Facsimile Painting of Geese, Tomb of Nefermaat and Itet, Charles K. Wilkinson [painted 1920-21], Tempera on paper

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