Height: 14.000 cm
Width: 10.200 cm
Depth: 9.000 cm
Gift of the Egyptian Exploration Fund
Ancient Egypt and Sudan
Painted limestone model of a house
From Naukratis, Egypt
Late Period, after 600 BC
Model houses like this were included in Egyptian tombs to provide a home for the spirit of the deceased in case the body was destroyed. They are also very interesting for archaeologists, who can use them to interpret representations of houses in tombs scenes, and the remains found in ancient towns. The conventions of Egyptian art, in which all objects are shown in their most recognizable form, mean that houses are represented in a very schematised way. The remains of houses in the few towns which have been found and excavated are usually preserved to a height of much less than a storey; often only a few courses of bricks or just the foundations remain.
Models of houses give many details which cannot be seen in the physical remains or in tomb reliefs. The doorway of this house imitates the entrance of a temple, with a moulded cornice above it, painted in red and black bands. On top of the house is a courtyard surrounded by low walls, a feature which can be seen in modern Egyptian houses. The canopy would have protected the family from the sun while they carried out household chores.
M. Stead, Egyptian life (London, The British Museum Press, 1986)
I. Shaw and P. Nicholson (eds.), British Museum dictionary of A (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)