Pharaonic Egypt   :|:   Document

Meketre’s model of a Riverboat (5)

ref. : en.965.2013 | 27 November 2013 | by Francis Leveque
modèle | Beginning of XXe century BC
Egypte (Haute Egypte) ( Egypte )
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This model of a riverboat was made nearly four thousand years ago. The paint, the bits of linen cloth on some of the figures, and the twine are ancient. The boat and more than twenty other models of boats, gardens, and workshops were found in a small chamber in the tomb of Meketre, a Theban official who began his career in the civil service under Nebhepetre Mentuhotep of 11th Dynasty and continued to serve successive kings into the early years of the 12th dynasty, c. 1981–1975 BC.

Meketre is shown smelling a lotus blossom, seated in the shade of a small cabin, which on an actual boat would have been made of a light wooden framework with linen or leather hangings. Here the hangings are shown partly rolled up to let the breeze through. Wooden shields covered with bulls’ hides are painted on each side of the roof. A singer, with his hand to his lips, and a blind harper entertain Meketre on his voyage. Standing in front of them is the ship’s captain, with his arms crossed over his chest. He may be depicted awaiting orders, but he may also be paying homage to the deceased Meketre. As the twelve oarsmen propel the boat, a lookout in the bow holds a weighted line used to determine the depth of the river. At the stern, the helmsman controls the rudder. A tall white post amidships supported a mast and sail (not found in the tomb), which would have been taken down when the boat was rowed downstream—as it is here—against the prevailing north wind. Going south (upstream), with the wind behind it, the boat would have been sailed.

- length : 128 cm
- length with rudder : 175 cm
- width with oars : 30,5 cm
- height : 37 cm