Scarab Bracelet of Wah

Middle Kingdom
Dynasty 12
reign of Amenemhat I, early
ca. 1981–1975 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt; Thebes, Southern Asasif, Tomb of Wah (MMA 1107), Mummy, over crossed wrists, MMA 1920
Silver, gold, glazed steatite, linen cord
scarab: l. 3.9 cm (1 1/2 in); w. 2.7 cm (1 1/16 in); h. 2.5 cm (1 in) barrel bead: l. 1.4 cm (9/16 in); diam. 1 cm (3/8 in) cylindrical bead: l. 1.9 cm (3/4 in); 0.8 cm (5/16 in) overall length: 43 cm (16 15/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1940
Accession Number:
  • Description

    The estate manager Wah was buried in a small tomb near the imposing one of his employer, Meketre, an important official who began his career under Mentuhotep II of Dynasty 11 and continued to serve successive kings into early Dynasty 12. Wah's burial was found intact by the Museum excavators and the objects came to the Museum in the division of finds. In 1939, the mummy was unwrapped and many fine objects were discovered. All three of Wah's scarab and bead bracelets (40.3.12-.14) were found in wrappings over the wrists of Wah's mummy. This large silver scarab is of exceptionally fine workmanship. It was cast in several sections that were soldered together. Details on the legs, head, and wing cases and the scroll meander pattern on the base were chased. A gold suspension tube runs through the length of the scarab. Inlaid hieroglyphs on the scarab's wing cases are of electrum, an alloy of gold and silver. Their light color renders them almost invisible unless the scarab is tarnished. The inscription on the left wing case identifies Wah as the estate manager of Meketre whose name appears on the right wing case.

  • Provenance

    Mummy of Wah excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1920. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1920. Mummy unwrapped in New York, 1940.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History