Clapper or wand - ROM2018_16141_34


Clapper or wand

Geography: Possibly excavated at Diospolis Parva, Egypt
Date: c. 2040-1650 B.C.
Period: Middle Kingdom
17.6 x 3.6 cm
Object number: 910.92.104
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt
DescriptionAlthough this piece may be a wand, it is more likely a clapper. One of a large variety of musical instruments from ancient Egypt, clappers are among the first percussion instruments known to us from Egypt, attested from the Predynastic Period (c. 5000-3100) through the Pharaonic Period. Clappers are often made of ivory, as is the case here, and could be decorated in a variety of different ways, including with Hathor heads, animal heads, as well as papyrus and lotus motifs. Many examples are decorated with carved hands at the narrow end. While there are breaks at the narrow end of this particular piece, meaning the original shape is unknown, the incised bands before the break may in fact be the “bracelet” decorations seen on many hand-shaped Egyptian clappers. Like all clappers, this example would have originally been one of a pair. The curved shape is seen frequently in clappers, and seems to follow the curve of the tusk from which it was carved. The piece is relatively thin in section with a convex top. The wider end is rough and worn and has the single perforation often seen on clappers. This piece also bears two perforations at the narrower end which is unusual, although these may be modern. If ancient, they may have been used to help mend a break. The origins of this piece are not known for certain, however documentation suggest that it may have come from a Cemetery Y at Diospolis Parva in Upper Egypt.
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