Model of a Man Plowing, Painted wood

Model of a Man Plowing

Middle Kingdom
early to mid-Dynasty 12
ca. 1981–1885 B.C.
From Egypt
Painted wood
H. 20 cm (7 7/8 in.); L. 49.8 cm (19 5/8 in.); W. 19.4 cm (7 5/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Valdemar Hammer, Jr., in memory of his father, 1936
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 113
The peasant, feet deep in the sodden ground, trudges behind the hook-shaped plow pulled by two oxen. Ancient Egyptian plows were made of wood and had the shape of a hook. It is not possible to turn the soil with such plows, they only serve to open the ground. The ultimate aim of this kind of plowing was, therefore, to place the seeds well into the soil. Texts appear to indicate that while a plow may have been the farmer's property, the oxen were leased by state or temple institutions. Egyptians believed that they also had to work in the fields in the afterlife; and this may be the reason why a model such as this was included in among burial equipment.
Donated to the Museum by Valdemar Hammer, Jr., 1936.

Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. Cambridge, Mass.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 265, 266, fig. 173.

Arnold, Dorothea 1995. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, new ser., vol. 52, no. 4 (Spring), New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 51, no. 62.