Wand or clapper - 909.80.49_1


Wand or clapper

Geography: Possibly excavated at Diospolis Parva (Hu), Egypt
Date: c. 1985-1773 BC
Period: 12th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom
12.4 cm
Object number: 909.80.49
Not on view
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 each end of this particular piece, meaning the original shape is unknown, the incised bands at the narrow end 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 top side of the piece is convex, while reverse is relatively flat. It is relatively thin in section. While clappers often bear a perforation at the wide end, this example has three. This unusual number may indicate that these perforations may have been used to mend a break. Although the origins of this piece are not known for certain, documentation suggests that it may have come from grave 245 in Cemetery Y at Diospolis Parva in Upper Egypt.
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