Circa: 1940 BC to 1750 BC
Dimensions: 9.75" (24.8cm) high
Collection: Egyptian Art
Style: Middle Kingdom
Condition: Very Fine
This offering bearer was designed to accompany her 12th dynasty “master” into the afterlife. This period of Egyptian history is characterised by notable feats of architecture and engineering such as the creation of a canal through the Wadi Tumilat, and various temples of considerable note. It also witnessed important artistic achievements including the creation of numerous papyri that have gone on to define most of what we know about the Middle Kingdom. The kingdom moved from Thebes to somewhere near the Faiyum Oasis at this time, and was renamed Amenemhat-itj-tawy. Diplomatic relations were established with Byblos and various Aegean communities, while military missions were sent to Nubia, the Levant and up the Nile to the Third Cataract and beyond.
The cultural palimpsest of the 12th dynasty was the most strident of the Middle Kingdom dynasties, which – in turn – was heavily reliant upon Old Kingdom traditions. Burial practices during this period were traditionally flamboyant, with food, drink, furniture, jewellery and a full cast of slaves, assistants and other members of staff accompanying the deceased into the afterlife. The current piece represents a bearer; female bearers did work in the homes of rich Egyptians as maids and culinary assistant, perhaps with other duties in certain cases as suggested by her pose and raiment.