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Model of a Male Offering Bearer

A typical Middle Kingdom wooden model of a male offering bearer carrying a bucket on his head.

Offering bearers are people who carry offerings (such as food and drinks) for the deceased. The Ancient Egyptians believed these offerings will be used by the deceased as sustenance to allow them survive in the afterlife. Offering bearers are often shown to have baskets filled with jars of drink (possibly beer), bread, meat, and other necessities.

Similar models are commonly found in Ancient Egyptian tombs during this period. A more well-known example is the so-called “Estate Figure” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (Accession number 20.3.7). An example located in Australia is a female model at the NGV International, Melbourne (Accession number D150-1982).

The imagery of offering bearer carrying objects on head is part of a long tradition from earlier period. It can be found on wall reliefs in the Old Kingdom period, such as a 5th dynasty example from Giza now located at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (Accession Number 37.2761.1).

This model of a male offering bearer is made of wood. Dated to the Middle Kingdom period, it is currently located at the Auckland War Memorial Museum as part of their permanent exhibition (Accession Number 13144).

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