Figure of a man with a hoe
From Assiut, Egypt
6th Dynasty, around 2250 BC
Painted wooden model of a man using a hoe
The tomb owners of the Middle Kingdom (about 2040-1750 BC) were determined that their provisions for the Afterlife should last for all eternity. Their tombs were equipped with models of various stages of the process of producing grain for bread, one of the main offerings to maintain the deceased in the Afterlife. The use of a hoe, to break up clods of earth that were too hard for the plough, could make the difference between a poor and a good harvest. This would ultimately affect how much bread was available for offerings to sustain the deceased.
The Egyptian view
of what the Afterlife would be like changed considerably over time.
By the New Kingdom (about 1550-1070 BC) the deceased was expected
to perform manual labour, especially in the fields, in the
Afterlife. In order to avoid this, small
J. Putnam, Egyptology: an introduction to (London, Apple, 1990)