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: 90.2 x 17.8 x 34.3 cm (35 1/2 x 7 x 13 1/2 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 papyriform boat (i.e. made of bundled papyrus) with a crew of twelve male figures. The boat’s ornamental bow and stern are topped with rosettes that likely represent papyrus clusters. The stern component is carved from a separate piece of wood. Each figure is painted reddish-brown and wears a white kilt and short, black wig. They also have black and white detailing on their eyes. The crew is comprised of eight seated/kneeling rowers, a man standing at the prow as lookout, two attendents bending forward, and a seated helmsman. The attendants lean forward over a funerary bier intended for a mummy. This is attached to the deck via small pegs. It is painted white with a black design and a canopy attached. A mast is inserted into a hole in the middle of the deck. The lookout figure stands in the prow in a striding pose with left leg and right arm advanced. The hands of the rowers are not modelled in detail, but some have been pierced for the insertion of model oars. All figures’ arms are carved as separate components from the body and attached at the shoulders by small pegs. Some are missing or detached. 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. There is considerable wearing of the paint. The top surface is painted white with red line detials to indicate various sections and beams of the deck.


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