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W693 Wooden figure from a model boat

W693This seated wooden figure is 5.5cm high and is wrapped in a white cloak from his neck down. This is believed to be a figure from a model wooden boat. Boat models and tomb scenes showing boats were particularly popular in the Middle Kingdom. Boats were both a practical means of travelling in ancient Egypt as well as having ritual significance. They were placed in tombs so that the deceased could continue his everyday life in the afterlife but also refer to the ritual journey of the dead from this life to the next, notably the pilgrimage to Abydos. Such cloaked figures as this are often said to be the pilots of the boat as they are often placed at the bow. However, they may also represent the deceased themselves. It has also been suggested that these are the forerunners of block statues which also appear in the Middle Kingdom.

This item was purchase by Sir Henry Wellcome at auction in 1929.