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Model Funerary Boat and Crew

ca. 1991 BCE-1785 BCE

During the Middle Kingdom (c. 2033−1710 BCE), Egyptian dignitaries of high standing began to have wooden models placed in their tombs to enable them to perform their daily activities in the afterlife. The boats included among these models, generally in pairs, are reproductions of crafts used on the Nile: one with a sail for voyages to the south and Nubia, blown by the prevailing wind from the Mediterranean, and the other rowed north with the aid of the life-sustaining river’s natural current. This stucco boat, which accommodates a crew of fourteen oarsmen, a helmsman and a leadsman to sound the depths, belongs to the second category. With the Nile being the principal thoroughfare in this world, as in the next, these boats enabled the deceased to fulfil his or her religious obligations by making the pilgrimage to the holy city of Abydos in Upper Egypt, home of the cult of Osiris, the fearsome ruler of the dead.

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: Thierry Ollivier

Artwork Details

Title: Model Funerary Boat and Crew
Geography: Egypt
Date: ca. 1991 BCE-1785 BCE

Medium: wood lined with stucco and painted

Classification: cult item
Dimensions: 26 x 73 x 13 cm
Inventory number: LAD 2015.002
Contact for images: [email protected]


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