Model of men making bricks

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

Findspot: Egypt, Deir el-Bersha, Tomb 10, shaft A (Djehutynakht)


Length: 56 cm (22 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This wooden tomb model depicts a brick-making scene. The wooden base has been painted dark brown to indicate clay being dug to be made into bricks. Four (of likely five original) male figures remain attached to the board. All figures are painted reddish-brown and wear white kilts and short, black wigs. At the back, one figure has a swath of linen wrapped around it at roughly waist level. This figure leans forward in the act of digging clay. Two standing figures carry a pole over their shoulder and held by holes in their hands. The pole likely originally held a basket of clay. The “feet” of the standing figures are carved as pegs for insertion into the base. The front figure kneels before shaped bricks that have been indicated by incised lines in the base. He likely would have been furnished with a model brick mold. The figures’ arms are separate components from the bodies. The rear figure is missing his right arm, the attachment peg of which still protrudes from his shoulder.


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