Model of a Funerary Barge



Wooden model of a funerary bier with mummy but very much a modern arrangement (pre 1850) with additions to give the appearance of a funeral barge. The funerary bier has lion legs and a pillared canopy and is probably part of a larger model boat. Lying on the bier is a model of a mummy/mummiform coffin (early New Kingdom shabti?) which has traces of white and yellow paint, a blue wig with yellow stripes, and a yellow face with eyes in black and white. The mummy wears a red, blue, yellow and green broad-collar of beads, finished off with black ‘drop’ beads. Above this there is a necklace of two beads around the neck. Down the front, painted in yellow on a blue column with a red and yellow border, is an inscription that starts with an offering formula to Ptah-Sokar but the rest is worn off (dimensions L 141 mm x W 46 mm x D 40 mm). At the back is a pseudo-boat stern with a small male seated at back before an altar with three jars. Most of these elements seem to be authentic, but their current arrangement behind the bier is 19th century work, most likely the work of Joseph Sams. However, at the front is a very odd addition of a head and torso of a man with both hands holding a standard of a dome with a bird on top, perhaps representing Amentet the personification of the West. This has no parallels on ancient boat models. For the general style it may be compared to a model of a funeral barge in the British Museum no. 9525 (Henry Salt collection) published in S.R.K. Glanville 'Catalogue of Egyptian Antiquities in the British Museum II Wooden Model Boats' (London, 1972) pp. 11-16, figs. 10-15, pl. III. There is no trace of a catalogue card made by Professors Newberry or Peet. Charles Gatty described it c. 1870 on his catalogue card as: "Model of a Sepulchral Boat, in wood; the mummy is lying upon a bier, ornamented with the heads and legs of lions; above is a canopy supported by six columns, two of which have capitals in shape of the head of Athor; in the stern a man is seated before a tray with three vases upon it. L.11 1/2 in."