Pair of Clappers

New Kingdom, Amarna Period
Dynasty 18
reign of Akhenaten
ca. 1353–1336 B.C.
From Egypt, Middle Egypt, Amarna (Akhetaten), King's House at Amarna, Pit south of the pond, Egypt Exploration Society excavations, 1931–2
Hippopotamus ivory
max. L. 21.5; max. h. as resting 2 ; max w. as resting 3.6 cm (8 7/16 x 13/16 x 1 7/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. John Hubbard and Egypt Exploration Society, 1932
Accession Number:
32.5.2a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 121
These clappers in the form of human hands were carved from a single hippopotamus tusk that was split in half. Such percussion instruments were used to keep time during dances or as part of a musical ensemble. These examples, however, were found in a miniature coffin at Amarna and seem to have been part of an offering.
Excavated at Amarna by the Egypt Exploration Society, 1931-32. Acquired by the EES in the division of finds. Given jointly by Mrs. John Hubbard (a contributor to the EES) and the EES to the Museum for its contribution to the excavations, 1932.

Hayes, William C. 1959. Scepter of Egypt II: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Hyksos Period and the New Kingdom (1675-1080 B.C.). Cambridge, Mass.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 316.

Moore J. Kenneth, Jayson Kerr Dobney, and Bradley Strauchen-Scherer 2015. Musical Instruments: Highlights of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2015. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.