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Home > Auctions > 25th May 2021 > Egyptian Model Boat with Oarsmen

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LOT 0003

GBP (£) 2,000 - 3,000
EUR (€) 2,310 - 3,460
USD ($) 2,780 - 4,180

Bid History: 2   |   Current bid: £2,000

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Bid History: 2   |   Current bid: £2,000

Egyptian Model Boat with Oarsmen

Middle Kingdom, 2133-1797 BC

A gesso-painted wooden funerary model boat with animal-headed bow, manned by two oarsmen with a seated figure at the bow, stern with flared and domed terminal, and with possible later additions; accompanied by a custom-made display stand. 834 grams, 41cm (16"). Fair condition.

Property of a Kensington lady; formerly with Roseberys Auctions, 22 October 2019, lot 48; previously in an old French collection; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10637-173461.

See D'Auria, S., Lacovara, P., and Roehrig, C.H., Mummies and Magic: the Funerary Arts of Ancient Egypt, 1993, p. 114-115, for other examples of ancient Egyptian model boats; see Winlock, H., Models of Daily Life in Ancient Egypt: From the Tomb of Meket-Re at Thebes, Montana, 2011, for discussion on tomb models; see The Metropolitan Museum, accession number 20.3.4, for a model boat dated to the Middle Kingdom with a comparable terminal to the bow; see the Australian Museum, Ancient Egyptian Collection, object AM E060381, donated by the estate of E. Wunderlich in 1962, for a Middle Kingdom funerary boat with animal-head bow and stern.

Boats were an integral part of everyday life and mythology in ancient Egypt, and as such they were considered necessary in the afterlife. Usually two model boats were provided for each tomb, one showing the crew sailing south with the prevailing wind; the other with the crew rowing north. Both papyrus and wooden boats were recreated as models, representing the variety of Egyptian boats.