An Egyptian Faience Model Fruit, Middle Kingdom, ca. 1980-1760 BC


An essential part of both funerary and cult rituals in ancient Egypt was the offering of sustenance.  Providing the deceased or the god with perpetual food was the way to insure the continuance of eternal life.  The most straightforward way of supplying food for cult purposes was by the offering of actual foodstuffs.  In funerary and cult temples, the priests depended on this for the livelihood; after the edibles had been ritually consumed, they were handed out to the religious staff for their own consumption. 

Tombs were furnished with actual containers of foods as early as the Predynastic Period, additional forms of food offerings were made from the Old Kingdom, with lists of foodstuffs and relief representations of heavily loaded offering tables were carved on tomb walls.  In the early Middle Kingdom, some of the elite took to including wood models among their funerary equipment, ensuring a permanent food supply and when this tradition died out, faience models, such as this example became a customary feature of the burial goods.

See:  Friedman, Florence Dunn 'Gifts of the Nile : Ancient Egyptian Faience', T & H (1998), #149. Pg 239.

Dimensions:  Length: 1 3/16 inches (3 cm)

Condition:  Intact and in very good condition overall

Provenance:  Private NY collection, acquired from the London trade in the 1980s.

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