Model of a funerary boat

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: 70 x 11 x 29 cm (27 9/16 x 4 5/16 x 11 7/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Gallery (Gallery 119)


The Ancient World



This is a wooden tomb model of a funerary boat. It is in the shape of a papyriform craft (i.e. made of bundled papyrus) with ornamental bow and stern topped with rosettes that likely represent papyrus clusters. The stern component is carved from a separate piece of wood. The crew of the boat numbers five, though a sixth may originally have been included at the stern to man the two steering oars that likely once were attached to the two vertical posts that remain. All figures are painted reddish-brown with white kilts and short, black wigs. Their eyes have been detailed with black and white. The four central figures are arranged in two pairs. Two figures lean forward with arms bent, tending to the boat’s mast. One of the opposing figures also does the same, while the fourth turns and reaches above the canopy behind them. The canopy is mounted on stakes over a bier which would be for a mummy. The “feet” of all figures are carved as pegs for insertion into a boat model. The boat is both plastered and painted. The top surface is painted white with red line detials to indicate various sections and beams of the deck. The hull is also decorated with a black-painted wadjet-eye above a line of waves on either side. The posts of the canopy are detailed in black and red.


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