The Bersha Procession

“The Bersha Procession”, one of 100 wooden models from the tomb of Djehutynakht. This model shows the funerary procession, with offerings of tribute for the deceased. Three women with offerings of food and drink are led by a Priest carrying a wine jug and incense burner.

The skill and delicacy with which it was carved and painted rank it among the finest wooden models ever found in Egypt. It shows a man and three women bringing offerings to sustain the ka of Djehutynakht in the afterlife. Each figure advances with the left leg forward, following the convention of larger scale Egyptian sculpture and relief.

The Bersha Procession. Boston Museum of Fine Arts. 21.326

A priest leads the way, carrying a ceremonial wine jar and incense burner for use in the burial rites. Two women follow with offerings of food and drink – the first carries a basket of bread and a duck, while the second brings another duck and a basket filled with beer jars.

The third woman furnishes items for Djehutynakht’s personal care, a small wooden cosmetic chest and a mirror, the latter slung over her shoulder in a case made of animal hide.

This brief procession symbolically provides all that was essential to sustain Djehutynakht in eternity: food, drink, items of personal adornment, and the incense used to attract and appease divinities and the blessed dead.

The Bersha Procession. Boston Museum of Fine Arts. 21.326
The Bersha Procession. Boston Museum of Fine Arts. 21.326

The procession was found overturned between Djehutynakht’s coffin and the eastern wall of his burial chamber, in a pile of broken models that robbers had thrown aside.

Although the four figures remained attached when the model was discovered, the two central offering bearers had lost their raised arms, and nearly all the offerings had come loose. Some pieces were found a considerable distance away.

Since its discovery, the scene has been reconstructed twice. The first attempt, carried out in 1941 before all the elements had been identified, was incorrect. The current configuration was established in 1987.

Middle Kingdom, 11th Dynasty, c. 2010–1961 B.C.
From Deir el-Bersha, Tomb 10, pit A. Tomb of Djehutynakht.
Now in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. 21.326