A Model Funerary Boat
the painted wooden model represents a funerary boat bearing a mummy on a bier beneath a shrine-shaped canopy. Fore and aft of the mummy stand tow bare-breasted women with short hair in attitudes of mourning these women usually represent the goddesses Isis and Nephthys, the sisters of Osiris and archetypthe al mourners. the helmsman squats at the rear between a pair of steering oars, the supporting two pots stands on the deck between the canopy and the prow.
The body of the boat is painted green, as if to indicate that it was made of a material like papyrus, although in reality any boat of this size could only have been made of wood .
However, papyrus, and indeed the color green, is symbolic of new life and rebirth and is appropriate for a tomb model; the yellow sickle-shaped prow and stern also imitates elements from papyrus boats. Lotus (lily) flowers are painted on the steering oars, giving further emphasis to the associations with rebirth.
the wedjat eye of horus, a symbol of healing and regeneration, is shown on the front of the body of the boat.
Models became a common feature of Egyptian tomb contents from the late Old kingdom through to the Middle Kingdom; in some cases the models augmented the depictions which were painted or carved onto tomb walls, but in others they replaced what was shown in such scenes (see also the brewery model,EA40915,pages 72-3).According to the sale catalogue of the salt collection, this boat, another like it (EA9525),and a model granary(EA2463) were found in the same tomb, though regrettably the identity of the tomb is not specified. the granary was apparently seen by Robert Hay in the house of dAthanasi, salts agent, at luxor in about 1825.
boats were particularly important models, to judge from the number that have survived. They were of course the main means of transport in Egypt, and the Egyptians, saw the sky as a celestial river, on which the sun-god Re traveled every day in his own boat Besides models of more conventional traveling boats, an important category is the funerary boat, as here. It is not clear whether this is a representation of the deceaseds funeral, when the body traveled from the land of the living (the east) to that of the dead (the west), or whether it could represent a pilgrimage journey to Abydos so that the deceased could magically associate himself with Osiris.
The latter scene became popular in the painted decoration of the tombs of the New Kingdom.
middle kingdom. Twelfth dynasty
probably from Thebes
purchased at the sale of the third salt collection in 1835
sycomore fig wood
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