Wooden tomb models were an Egyptian funerary custom throughout the Middle Kingdom Period, which saw wooden figurines and sets constructed to be placed in the tombs of Egyptian royalty. The wooden models reflected a variety of tasks and chores which servants would be expected to carry out in the afterlife, and accordingly, many are depicted as performing a certain task. A chapter from Osiris’ Book of the Dead highlights the continued significance of servitude after death: “when you are counted upon at any time to serve there, to cultivate the fields, to irrigate the river banks, to ferry the sand of the west to the east and vice–versa, “here I am” you shall say.”. During the New Kingdom and into the Late Period (747–332 BC), the wooden models were replaced or developed into the Shabti form.
To find out more about Egyptian funerary statuettes please see our relevant blog post: How Ancient Egyptian Shabtis and Funerary Statuettes Watched Over the Dead.