Feature object: Model of a Porch and Garden, Middle Kingdom

Feature object: Model of a Porch and Garden, Middle Kingdom
The recent discovery (http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/267024.aspx) of a unique model Egyptian garden in the courtyard of a Middle Kingdom tomb at Dra Abu el-Naga on the West bank at Thebes by a Spanish mission was a reminder of the importance of gardens and nature to the ancient Egyptians.
This model of a garden, featuring fruit bearing sycamore trees arranged around a central pool comes from the same period and area as the outdoor garden: Middle Kingdom Thebes.
During the Middle Kingdom, models of aspects of daily life that the ancient Egyptians wished to continue in the Afterlife were included in the burials of the elite. In the New Kingdom, as burial practices changed, these models were largely replaced by wall paintings and reliefs.
The model below was found at Southern Asasif, (Thebes) and came from the Tomb of chief Steward Meketre - which, although it had been robbed in antiquity, was still found to contain numerous high quality models hidden in a small room which was discovered by accident in 1920 when Herbert Winlock wished to make an accurate map of the site.
If you look closely at the model you can see three spouts projecting from the back of the building to accommodate runoff from rare rainfall. The pond itself is lined with copper and might have contained water at some point.
Half of Meketre's models can be seen in Cairo, while the other are currently held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. [Click on the image to visit the Museum site and view alternate angles of the model]


  1. Ljiljana Srebrenovic Great question! Egyptian libation vessels such as the hes vase and bowls are fairly well documented from models, real examples and from art.

    The function of the object, when viewed in the context of the others found in the tomb such as servant figures, scenes of food production, estate management and various kinds of boats is to recreate aspects of everyday life, which would then magically continue in the Afterlife.

    Some of these models are very realistic, including hinged doors on buildings, wood/metal tools and rigging on boats, so I would interpret the copper pool lining as a nice touch of authenticity made by the artisans.

    Since things like Osiris beds (a topic for its own post I think!) were seeded with grain then watered and left to sprout in the tomb, it seems reasonable to assume it could have been buried with water in it, however, testing this theory could prove difficult.

  2. الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم


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