A Noble's Yacht of the Middle Kingdom
A nobleman's personal ship of the Middle Kingdom. Known from well-made funerary models, as well as from tomb wall-pictures, such vessels were used in the Middle Kingdom (2040- 1786 B.C.) to transport potentates and their bodyguards. The oars of the period are characteristically scoop-shaped and sometimes mounted on outswerving wooden thole-pins of the kind shown here. The bull-hide shields hung on the deckhouse are a testimony to the warlike times. The rig remains unchanged from that of the late Old Kingdom, but the single steering oar is now placed exactly amidships and sometimes worked by a tiller stick held in the helmsman's hand.