Exhibitions/ Art Object
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Model Paddling Boat

Period:
Middle Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 12
Reign:
reign of Amenemhat I, early
Date:
ca. 1981–1975 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Southern Asasif, Tomb of Meketre (TT 280, MMA 1101), MMA excavations, 1920
Medium:
Wood, paint, plaster, linen twine and cloth
Dimensions:
L. 132.5 cm (52 3/16 in.), with rudder 138.5 (54 1/2 in.); H. 53 cm (20 7/8 in.); W. 38 cm (14 15/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1920
Accession Number:
20.3.5
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 105
The green color of the hull of this boat, its vertical prow, backward-curving stern and double steering oars imitate elements of vessels made from papyrus stalks. Even the lashings of the leather sheaths that covered prow and stern of such boats are rendered. Boats of this particular type appear in representations of the "pilgrimage to Abydos" that was part of the Egyptian funerary ritual from the Middle Kingdom onwards. The ritual character of this boat trip is clearly demonstrated by the fact that not the living Meketre but a statue sits under the baldaquin accompanied by a companion (possibly his son) and a large libation vessel. The basic idea of a trip to the major cult center of the god Osiris at Abydos, where the god's death and resurrection were celebrated, is however maintained by the presence of two boats: this one that is being paddled northward from Thebes to Abydos against the prevailing wind by sixteen men whose varied sizes and arm positions create an impression of movement along the line, and another that is just setting out on the return trip under sail.
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1920. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1920.

Yamamoto, Kei 2015. "Model Sailboat and Paddling Boat." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 254–55, no. 189.

Oppenheim, Adela 2015. "Introduction: What Was the Middle Kingdom?." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 6.

Arnold, Dorothea 2015. "Statues in Their Settings: Encountering the Divine." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 19.

Quirke, Stephen 2015. "Understanding Death: A Journey between Worlds." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 220.

Kamrin, Janice 2015. "The Decoration of Elite Tombs: Connecting the Living and the Dead." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 30, n. 28.

Grajetzki, Wolfram 2015. "The Pharaoh's Subjects: Court and Provinces." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 120, 123.

Arnold, Dieter and Adela Oppenheim 2015. "Excavations by The Metropolitan Museum of Art at Middle Kingdom Sites." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 313.

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