Seated scribe model

Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 11 or 12
2061–1783 B.C.


Height x width x thickness: 9.5 x 5.7 x 5.4 cm (3 3/4 x 2 1/4 x 2 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This figure from a wooden model depicts a seated scribe. It is carved from a single piece of wood. His skin is painted a deep reddish-brown and he wears a short, black-painted wig. Eyes are detailed in black and white paint. The figure is clothed in a short white kilt. An unrolled sheet of papyrus (painted white) is spread across his lap, and he holds a reed pen in his left hand. The left upper shoulder area has been damaged, possibly from insects. The head and front of the knees and hands are somewhat battered. Some areas of paint have worn down to the unerlying wood.


By 1836: Robert Hay Collection, Linplum, Scotland; 1863: to his son, Robert James Alexander Hay; 1868-1872: Way Collection, Boston (purchased by Samuel A. Way through London dealers Rollin and Feuardent, 27 Haymarket); 1872: given to the MFA by Samuel's son, C. Granville Way. (Accession date: June 28, 1872)

Credit Line

Hay Collection—Gift of C. Granville Way