Model of a boat with crew
Dynasties mid XI- XII
Wood, gesso, pigment
80.3 X 31.8 X 14.3
Felton Bequest 1939
The river of Nile was the quickest means of transport and communication in Egypt. Boats for local use were made from papyrus reeds, others were of wood; royal, state and temple barges were made from cedar imported from the Lebanon as Egypt lacked good timber. Extremely large ships are used to transport materials used to make monuments and obelisks erected at their temples.
Ceramic vessels with depictions of boats are known from tombs of the Predynastic Period. Several pyramids form the Old and Middle Kingdoms have boat pits associated with them and some actual boats survived. These ensured the mobility of the king during his next life.
The model illustrated may have been intended to serve a variety of functions. As it was restored before acquisition, the exact positioning of some of the figures is uncertain. The hull is coloured green, possibly in imitation of papyrus, and the deck is marked in red and black on a white ground. The high, curved prow is ornamented with a falcon head, as are the standards. This is patterned to Horus, patron of kingship, while the Theban war-god Montu was shown with a falcon head, as the protector of Memphis cemeteries, Sokar.