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: 62 x 18 x 34 cm (24 7/16 x 7 1/16 x 13 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Gallery (Gallery 119)


The Ancient World



This wooden tomb model boat has a crew of six male figures. They are painted reddish-brown with white kilts and short, black wigs, and their eyes have been detailed with black and white. Five of the figures are standing or in striding poses with a leg advnaced, while one figure is shown seated/kneeling at the stern of the boat. This helsman tends to the vertical stanchion in front of him, to which would have been attached the boat’s steering oar. Three of the standing figures are set at the prow of the boat, with a primary bowsman at front with his right arm raised. Two additional standing fiures just to the back of center reach forward with both arms as though tending to the boat’s mast, which is present, or sail, which is not present. The model is both plastered and painted. The top surface is painted white with red line details to indicate various sections and beams of the decks.


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