Requires Photography

Model flail

Middle Kingdom, late Dynasty 11 – early Dynasty
2010–1961 B.C.

Findspot: Egypt, Deir el-Bersha, Tomb 10, shaft A


Top length 31.5 cm; diameter 1.9 cm; bottom length approximately 22.5 cm; grooved end of rudder 3.5 cm

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This is a model flail (flagellum) composed of two pieces. The join is a slot and groove with no dowel or pin to hold the pieces together. Individual components of the “whip” element are distinguished only by short notches in the flared end. Both pieces are of a reddish-brown wood with substantial remnants of the yellowish plaster originally used to fix the joinder.

Wooden models of scepters and/or staffs of office were sometimes included among tomb offerings as symbols of power and status. This flail, traditionally a symbol royal power, was found along with such items as a model mace (21.814) and model scepter (21.440) in the tomb of Djehutynakht. Such objects of symbolic or ritual significance are also depicted in the registers of tomb equipment that adorn the sides of the Djehutynakht’s coffin (20.1823).


From Deir el-Bersha, tomb 10, shaft A (tomb of Djehutynakht). May 1915: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Egypt.
(Accession Date: March 1, 1920)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition