Photo © Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Yoram Lehmann
Statuette of a female offering bearer carrying a box filled with flour and holding a duck
Provenance unknown
21st–20th century BCE
Painted wood
H: 59 cm
Gift of Curtis Katz, Great Neck, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum
Accession number: 94.35.32
Wooden models illustrating daily life, along with a supply of provisions for the deceased, were common in Egyptian tombs of this period. They provided detailed representations of houses, gardens, granaries, army troops, boats, workshops, and people. This type of female offering-bearer guaranteed provisions for the deceased. Often larger than the models of daily life, these figures are usually depicted carrying a basket on their head, filled with food stores such as meat, bread, wine, or flour. The basket is always supported by the left hand, and in many cases a live duck is held in the right hand. The offering-bearers may appear singly or in pairs, either in the tomb chapel or in the burial chamber.

This figure wears a white dress held in place by a strap over the left shoulder. Her black wig is cut below the ears at the sides, left long at the back, and surrounded by a white ribbon tied at the back. Her skin is painted yellow, as was customary in representations of women in ancient Egypt, while the flour in her basket is painted white. She holds the duck, fashioned from a separate piece of wood, by the tail. Its wings have not survived.

The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir