Height: 15.500 cm
Width: 17.500 cm (max.)
Gift of the
Ancient Egypt and Sudan
Loaf of bread
From Deir el-Bahari, Thebes,
New Kingdom, around 1500 BC
Food in life and death
Bread was a staple food of the ancient Egyptians and grain was also used as the basis for making beer. The production of grain was one of the principal agricultural activities in Egypt, and is frequently illustrated on tomb walls. When Egypt was part of the Roman Empire, the country served as the main source of grain for Rome.
Most Egyptian bread was made from wheat, and but a variety of other ingredients could be added. Shapes varied from round or triangular flat loaves, to tall conical ones baked in pottery moulds. Dozens of different shapes and names are known for loaves of bread, which indicate its importance to the Egyptians.
In ancient Egypt death imitated life to a great extent; bread was an essential part of the deceased person's provisions for the Afterlife. This example was perhaps placed in a tomb as a means of sustaining the dead occupant on their journey to the Underworld.
H. Wilson, Egyptian food and drink (Aylesbury, Shire Publications, 1988)