Wooden models of workshops and everyday activities, such as baking, would have been placed in the graves as burial goods, to ensure that the deceased would have enough supplies of bread and other products in the afterlife. Wooden models could have been carved in the shape of single figures or arranged to create elaborate compositions of multiple figures, and would have included not only different aspects of everyday life such fishing, hunting, or cooking, but also replicas of weapons, boats religious paraphernalia, architectural elements and different types of foods. In Ancient Egypt bread, together with beer, was not only the base of every meal but also held important ritual connotations as a votive offering to the gods. The combined hieroglyphs for food and bear were used as a symbol for food and models of different types of bread and of representations of baking were placed in the graves to ensure plenty of bread for the deceased in the afterlife.
Ancient Egyptian Wood Tomb Model with Baker
An extremely fine and rare ancient Egyptian large wooden composition of a male baker seated on a rectangular base in front of a cylindrical bread oven with a frontal opening and a separate lid. The figurine is wearing the traditional shendyt kilt and is portrayed holding a baking tray in his extended right hand. Facial features are emphasised by a delicate black pigment, while the body is covered in white and red slip. The pigments used to further enrich the composition have survived the passing of time, and appear well preserved. Wooden statuettes, such as this fine example, were an Egyptian funerary custom throughout the Middle Kingdom Period, following the example sets by the Royal tombs.
Period: Middle Kingdom
Provenance: From a UK collection; formerly in an early 20th Century collection.
Condition: Extremely fine considering the fragility of the wooden medium. Original pigments still visible to the surface. Some signs of ageing to the surface.