Funerary model of cow giving birth - ROM2004_1039_12


Funerary model of cow giving birth

Medium:Wood, carved and painted
Geography: Probably from Meir, Egypt
Date: c. 2040-1985 BC
Period: Early Middle Kingdom
21.6 x 47.2 x 17.8 cm
Object number: 910.18.16.1
Credit Line: No credit line
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

This wooden tomb model dates to the Middle Kingdom (ca. 2055 -1650 BC) and, although such models are commonly placed in tombs at this time, this particular theme is unusual. Middle Kingdom models depicting various aspects of daily life activities, especially food production, survive in many examples.

The vignette of a cow giving birth is popular in tomb paintings from this period but wooden models are quite rare. Tomb painting and models were placed in a tomb to ensure the deceased everlasting prosperity, for it was thought that both would magically come to life and work for the tomb owner in the Afterlife. Our model shows that animal husbandry was practised at this early date in ancient Egypt, with one man calming the cow while the other ensures a proper delivery. The calf emerges from his mother, already licking the hand that will feed it.

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