Model of a funerary boat

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

Findspot: Egypt, Deir el-Bersha, Tomb 10, shaft B (Satmeket)


Length x width x height: 83 x 13 x 28 cm (32 11/16 x 5 1/8 x 11 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


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 is a wooden tomb model of a funerary boat with a crew of five male figures. All figures are painted reddish-brown and wear black wigs and white kilts. Their eyes are detailed with black and white. The boat is in the shape of a craft made of bundled papyrus, with a barrel-shaped bow and an ornamental stern bent up and topped with a rosette that likely represents a papyrus cluster. The stern component is carved from a separate piece of wood. A small bier topped by a canopy/cabin located near the stern was most likely intended for a mummy. The mid-section and prow of the boat is occupied by five seated rowers. Arms were carved as separate components and attached to the bodies of the figure via small pegs. There is no modelling of the hands, but rather small holes pierced through for attachment of the model oars. The boat has stripes of varying width paited over its width. The hull is also decorated with a black-painted wadjet-eye on either side.


From Deir el-Bersha, tomb 10, shaft B (tomb of Satmeket). 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