Model oven - 910.18.21_1


Model oven

Medium:Wood, carved and painted red and black
Geography: Probably excavated at Deir el-Bahri, Egypt
Date: c. 2055-2004 BC
Period: Reign of Mentuhotep II, Dynasty 11, Middle Kingdom
Object number: 910.18.21
Not on view

Bread and beer made of emmer and barley were the typical foods of the ancient Egyptians.  The whole process of breadmaking is frequently reproduced on Egyptian tomb walls and in tomb models. Baking was the final stage in the preparation which began with winnowing and grinding the grain and making flour. At first baking was done over an open fire or breadmoulds were piled over a fire.  By the Middle Kingdom, however, bee-hive shaped ovens had come into use in which flat loaves of bread could be baked.

This is a very roughly made wooden model of a bee-hive shaped oven used for baking bread. The oven is basically conical in shape, 9.5 cm in height. The flat base is roughly triangular in shape (5 cm  on a side) with a flat back. The base is unpainted with a single dowel hole. The circular top of the oven (diameter c. 3 cm) is also flat. A small triangular notch (3 cm high and 2 cm wide at base) has been cut out of the front of the oven to indicate the door. It looks as if the entire cone was first painted black and then entirely painted over with red paint. Three deep horizontal grooves and thirteen vertical grooves have been cut into the wood above the door area; these divisions presumbaly indicate that the oven was meant to be constructed of bricks, although it could be        interpreted as a pile of breadmoulds above a fire. 

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