Relief of the Lady Wadjkaues

Middle Kingdom, Dynasty, 12, reign of Senwosret
1971–1926 B.C.

Findspot: Egypt, Deir el-Bersha, Tomb 3


Width x height x depth: 59 x 37 x 4.5 cm (23 1/4 x 14 9/16 x 1 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Painted limestone

On View

Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Gallery (Gallery 119)


The Ancient World



The woman featured in the relief is Wadjkaues, the wife of the nomarch and mother of Sep. Seated on a chair before a table piled high with bread, Wadjkaues holds in her left hand a blue lotus flower. She wears a long wig, a simple sheath dress with straps, a broad collar, and paired bracelets. The relief is rendered in a manner characteristic of early second millennium tombs from Deir el-Bersha in that the hieroglyphs are sharply delineated, the figure slim-waisted, and the limbs long and slender.

The style and text on this sunk relief fragment suggest that it comes from the tomb of Amenemhat, chief of the fifteenth Upper Egyptian Hare Nome, located across the Nile from the Middle Kingdom tombs at Deir el-Bersha. Amenemhat is also identified as the father of Sep, scribe of the royal monuments.


From Deir el-Bersha, tomb 3. By mid-19th century: Paris private collection (W.K. Simpson, "The Middle Kingdom in Egypt: Some Recent Acquisitions," Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts 72 [1974] 110); by 1972, with Jean-Louis Domercq, Paris; purchased by the MFA from Jean-Louis Domercq December 13, 1972.
(Accession Date: December 13, 1972)

Credit Line

Seth K. Sweetser Fund