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: 57 cm (22 7/16 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 wooden tomb model takes 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. Two stanchions and two oars located at the stern were used to steer the boat. One male figure remains on the boat of a crew that may originally have numbered several figures. He is painted reddish-brown with a white kilt and short, black wig. The “feet” of the figure are carved as pegs for insertion into the model. He is located at the prow of the ship, in a striding pose. A canopy supported by four poles and located closer to the stern suggest that the fully assembled scene may have been a funerary boat. The boat itself is both plastered and painted. Remnants of white appear on the sides, and both hull and stern are decorated with a black-painted wadjet-eye flanked by red-orange and black wave lines. Additional red-orange wave lines at larger scale continue to the tips of the boat. The top surface is painted white with red line detials to indicate various sections and beams of the deck. One additional standing figure may also belong with this boat.


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