- Museum number
Wooden model of a rowing boat: the hull is long and narrow, flat-bottomed throughout. Bow and stern much elongated, simulating canoe of lashed papyrus reeds. The hull proper has been hollowed out to leave gunwales which are cut off short behind the forward pair of rowers and in front of the seated helmsman; the bow and stern sections have been mortised to the hull of solid wood. Hull is painted white all over, with details in black and red over the white. Top and outside of gunwales are black, white on the inside. A black band and a red band are painted on the sides of the hull and on the deck at the positions of the pilot and helmsman; these bands may possibly represent girt-ropes. From the ends of the deck to these transverse bands are strips of white with black lines apparently representing leather lashings. The stems of the 'papyrus bundles' at bow and stern are marked by longitudinal stripes alternately black and red. There is no painted deck-plan. There is no rigging or provision for it, not even a mast-hole. The fittings are almost all lost. The two steering-posts aft, painted white and black, are from the firmness of the wood and freshness of their paint almost certainly modern restorations. A steering-oar associated with this boat and a very long pointed pole, spliced in the middle, possibly a pilot's sounding-pole, may not have originally belonged to it. At the stern the helmsman sits with his legs straight out along the deck. His arms are held straight at an angle of 45 degrees with his body, which puts his hands, which are pierced laterally, in a position unsuitable for holding the tiller or tillers, unless there were two tillers linked by a cross-bar. In the body of the boat are two pairs of rowers, seated on the deck, three with their legs slightly bent at the knee and one with his legs straight out-this last an awkward posture for an oarsman. Their arms are extended before them as if in the act of rowing, and the hands are pierced laterally with almost square holes to take the oars, which are missing. The after pair of rowers are leaning well back as if pulling hard on the oars; the forward pair sit upright. Another pair, once seated amidships, are now missing. In the bow stands the pilot, facing aft with right arm pointing forward and hand extended as if signalling to the helmsman; his left arm hangs straight down at his side and the hand is clenched and pierced. All the crew have red bodies, black wigs, and white skirts extending to the knee or a little lower.
The body of the hull is of solid wood, with end-pieces mortised to the body. The steering-posts, which almost certainly are modern, fit into square holes in the deck. Seated figures are secured with one peg apiece, the standing pilot has one for each foot, although they are practically touching. Wigs of pilot and helmsman are normal; those of the rowers are of unusual technique, being carved with horizontal and vertical lines to represent curls. The features of the crew are carved in detail with the exception of the helmsman and pilot; in these cases no attempt at detail has been made except for a painted ridge running down the middle of the face which includes the nose. An extra-deep horizontal cut at the pilot's mouth suggests that he is in the act of shouting directions to the helmsman which he is reinforcing with a gesture of his right arm. The legs of the seated figures are divided by a cut between them from just below the knee downward.
Length: 104.20 centimetres
Width: 10.80 centimetres
Depth: 8.90 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- In a boat of this type one would not ordinarily expect more than one steering-post or oar. It seems possible therefore that an extra figure of a rower was set in the helmsman's place on board in order to avoid carving a figure in a separate posture.
The difference in technique between the figures of the helmsman and pilot on the one hand, and those of the rowers on the other, suggests that the former were rough substitutes for properly carved figures. Possibly in the case of less elaborate models figures may have come from a stock of ready-made objects and in this instance those of the helmsman and of the pilot may not have been available.
The owner of the tomb where this boat was found is ‘Iy-šmʒ rn.f nfr Stt-kʒ whose titles are sḏʒwty-bỉty smr w‘ty ḥry-tp ‘ʒ n nsw.t. See E. Edel in 'Annales du Service des Antiquitiés de l'Égypte' 57 (1962), 37-41; E. Edel, 'Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache' 93 (1966), 49-50. The inscribed jars from the tomb are published by Edel in 'Die Felsengräber der Qubbet el Hawa bei Assuan' II (Wiesbaden, 1967), 77-84.
E. A. W Budge, ‘Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology’ 10 (London, 1888), 38;
E. A. W. Budge, ‘By Nile and Tigris : a narrative of journeys in Egypt and Mesopotamia on behalf of the British museum between the years 1886 and 1913’ I (London, 1920), 94.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1992 Jul-Oct, Norfolk, Swaffham Museum, Ancient Egypt
- The wood of the hull has suffered from dry rot, but the paint is in very fair condition except where the wood has fallen away. Oars and original steering-gear are lost; the one steering-oar with the boat may not have belonged to it originally, and the steering-posts are almost certainly restorations.
- Acquisition date
- Egypt and Sudan
- BM/Big number
- Registration number