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An ancient Egyptian figure of a scribe. The original dates to around 1370BC (Period of Amenophis III, 18th dynasty).
In ancient Egypt, only one group of people called scribes were allowed to learn to read and write. This unusual ancient Egyptian replica shows a scribe sat cross-legged at work, with a scroll stretched out across his lap.
Scribes enjoyed a leading place in the administration of ancient Egypt. The position was offered to those who had finished school and had completed their training in the administration.
The young scribe student went through an exam after which he was granted a reed and a palette. He was then qualified to join the administration. Scribes came from any social class. A scribe's career required a wide range of skills and personnel abilities helped him climb the ranks of public office. Thanks to his a scribe could climb right up "to Pharaoh's feet".
When at work the scribe sits cross-legged. In one hand he holds a reed and in the other is a palette - a flat piece of wood pierced to hold two pots of red and black ink. A roll of papyrus is spread over his knees. Many pictures from the Amarna period depict the god Thot, patron of science and art and god of intelligence, placed in front of the scribe to protect and give him inspiration.