Fishing & Duck Hunt (Ancient Egypt Middle Kingdom)


Another little vignette of daily life in Middle Kingdom ancient Egypt. Again, to get a good sense of the liveliness of this scene, you need to zoom into the action on this smart model sporting boat. Unlike so much ancient Egyptian art, these kind of models are concrete and earthy. The figures animation is figured in their interaction with tools (objects) and with each others.

Among the pleasures of an Egyptian noble’s life were hunting excursions in the Nile marshes to fish and hunt birds. Papyrus rafts or light boats such as this were used for such excursions. Here, Meketre and his son or companion are watching the hunters from a light shelter made of woven reeds and decorated with two large shields. In the prow, two men aim harpoons at some fish, while amidships a kneeling fisherman removes the harpoon from a bolti fish. An earlier catch, a large Mormyrus, is being presented to Meketre. A bunchof coots, caught previously in a clapnet, are presented by a man and a woman, who wears a bead net over her shoulders, brings a duck. The poles of the clapnet are now lashed to the grilles of the shelter; the net pegs lie on the deck. The presence of females from a noble’s family in such marsh scenes is a recurring theme in Egyptian art (from the Met online)


Sporting Boat, ca. 1981–1975 B.C. Egyptian, Middle Kingdom Plastered and painted wood, linen, linen twine, copper; Boat with rudder and paddles: L. 121.7 cm (47 15/16 in.); H. 34.3 cm (13 1/2 in.); W. 30.6 cm (12 1/16 in.) Hull: L. 112.5 cm (44 5/16 in.); W. 23.7 cm (9 5/16 in.) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1920 (20.3.6)


About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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