Writing board of an apprentice scribe, Wood, whitewash, ink

Writing board of an apprentice scribe

First Intermediate Period
Dynasty 11 or earlier
ca. 2030 B.C.
From Egypt
Wood, whitewash, ink
H. 22 cm (8 11/16 in); w. 8.5 cm (3 3/8 in)
Credit Line:
Gift of Edward S. Harkness, 1928
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 109
It is clear from the awkwardly formed hieroglyphs and their uneven spacing that this is the work of an apprentice scribe who was practicing his penmanship. The writing board could be used again and again by scraping or wiping off the ink and adding a new coat of whitewash. Another writing board in the collection shows corrections made in red ink.
Purchased in Cairo from Nicolas Tano in Cairo, 1928.

Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. Cambridge, Mass.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 294.