By June 17, 2008 Read More →

Baking and Brewing Model from a Tomb at Asyut, c. 1900 BCE



Museo Egizio, Turin

Egyptian burial places and their decoration expanded or contracted according to prevailing conditions and ranged from tombs with multi-room chapels to coffins in small undecorated burial chambers. The two most important elements to which all tombs could be reduced were a coffin with the body of the deceased person and a stela with the name of the deceased and the so-called offering text requesting offerings to be made at the tomb.

People engaged in the preparation of food and drink were depicted in publicly accessible tomb chapels. When, however, the tombs did not have decorated chapels, the role of these scenes was taken over by wooden models placed in the burial chamber, often piled up on top of the coffin. Because models are truly three-dimensional and carved with a certain primitive realism which is little affected by the conventions of Egyptian official art, they can be more informative than reliefs or paintings.

But unlike reliefs they are never inscribed. Models showing groups of people engaged in the baking of bread and the brewing of beer are among the most frequent. Here we can see two me grinding grain on large querns for baking bread.

A man is dehusking grain by pounding it with a pestle in a mortar in the first stage of brewing beer, while another is rinsing chaff out of the mixture of ground sprouted grain (malt) and cooked grain in order to obtain wort, necessary for fermentation in beer-making.

Malek, Jaromir, Egypt; 4000 years of Art. London- Phaidon Press, 2003.

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