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: 66 x 13 x 32 cm (26 x 5 1/8 x 12 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Gallery (Gallery 119)


The Ancient World



The following description reflects this object’s current condition and state of assembly, which were achieved after conservation. Photography that appears with this record may show the object prior to changes made during conservation.

This wooden tomb model depicts a boat with a crew of six male figures, each of which is painted reddish-brown with short, black wigs and white kilts. Their eyes have also been detailed with black and white. Five of the figures are in striding poses and still attached to the boat. Their “feet” have been carved as pegs for insertion into holes in the boat’s deck. A sixth, the helmsman, is seated at the stern immediately behind the short post that acted as stanchion for a steering oar. On the prow a lookout stands with left leg and right arm advanced. The central four figures are arranged in facing pairs, leaning and reaching forward to tend to the boat’s sail and mast, the latter of which is still present. The boat is painted white with red line decorations on the top to indicate deck 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