U.S. artists Christo, right, and Jeanne-Claude, shown in July 2006, unveiled a model of a new project made of petroleum barrels for the United Arab Emirates. ((Thomas Haentzschel/Associated Press))

U.S. artist Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude are proposing a new project — an installation in the desert made of oil barrels and shaped like an ancient Egyptian tomb.

They unveiled a model of the new project Saturday in Saint-Paul, in the south of France, according to wire service Agence France Presse.

The United Arab Emirates is very interested in the work, Christo said after unveiling the project at Galerie Guy Pieters.

The project, to be called The Mastaba, would be made of 390,500 empty petroleum barrels, all orange-yellow, stacked horizontally into the shape of a flat-topped Egyptian tomb. A mastaba is a flat-roofed tomb, normally made of brick or stone, and may have been a precursor to thepyramids.

The barrels would be stacked to two-thirds the height of the Eiffel tower, about 150 metres.

Christo, who wrapped Germany's Reichstag in 1995 and created the saffron Gates in New York's Central Park in 2005, said he had earlier plans to mount the installation in Texas and the Netherlands.

Those plans didn't work out, but now Abu Dhabi is reported to be ready to finance the project.

The exact location in the U.A.E. of The Mastaba has yet to be determined.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude are also planning to wrap 10kilometres of the Arkansas River in clear plastic for a work called Over the River — Project for Arkansas River, Colorado in July and August 2011.