Tut Exhibit - King Tutankhamun Exhibit, Collection: Other Items - Model Boat with Rigging

The Tutankhamun Exhibit

Other Items

Model Boat with Rigging

Model Boat with Rigging

Unlike the model boat that the king was to use during his journey through the Afterlife, this ship was a model of a royal craft that was used during the king's lifetime. It has the original double mast, and when Carter recorded it in the Treasury the lowered square sail made of linen dyed red was still in place. The cabin in the center is painted in a checkerboard pattern, and there are stairs leading to the roof. Doors have been omitted, and the captured enemies usually represented on the sides of the stairway are barely visible. Geometric and floral motifs are painted on the front and back of the hull.

The two steering rudders are tied into place against two vertical supports braced by a crosspiece. Each of the rudders ends on top with a carved and gilded head complete with an elaborate crown and beard. The body of the ship is carved from a single log and comes to a point at the bow and a flattened "fishtail" at the stern. There are two gilded booths: one with an openwork sphinx carved on either side is at the front, while a bull adorns the shrine at the back. These elaborately carved open booths have a roof supported by four columns, and the royal insignia of the sphinx and bull are placed less than halfway up the sides.

The Nile was a highway for the ancient Egyptians, and boats such as these frequently sailed upstream. Since sails would be unnecessary for the trip downstream, the tomb of Tutankhamun was also provided with ships without rigging.