Model of a boat under sail

Middle Kingdom, late Dynasty 11 – early Dynasty
2010–1961 B.C.

Findspot: Egypt, Deir el-Bersha, Tomb 10, shaft A (Djehutynakht)


Length x width x height: 57 x 11 x 30 cm (22 7/16 x 4 5/16 x 11 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This wooden tomb model depicts a boat an its crew. The crew members originally numbered six, but only five are present. The remaining figures are all painted reddish-brown with white kilts and black wigs, and their eyes are detailed in black and white. One stands at the bow in a striding pose with right arms and left leg advanced. Behind this lookout figure, two figures lean towards the center of the deck with arms held out. They are faced by a single figure who is part of an original pair, as indicated by two holes for attachment next to him. These opposing pairs likely originally flanked the mast of the boat, which has not survived. The fifth figure kneels/sits at the stern of the boat in the position of helmsman. Immediately in front of him is another hole in the deck, into which the stanchion for a steering oar would have been set. There are some remnants of plaster and paint on the boat, and the deck was detailed with red lines to indicate divisions and beams.


From Deir el-Bersha, tomb 10, shaft A (tomb of Djehutynakht). May 1915: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Egypt. (Accession Date: March 1, 1921)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition