A beautiful and large faience shabti from the Late Period of ancient Egypt. The figure is depicted as mummiformed, boasting a striated, tripartite wig and plaited beard of the divine. The arms are crossed right over left on the chest, with the hands protruding from a close-fitting shroud. The shabti holds a pick in the left hand, and a hoe in the right hand, as well as the cord of a basket which is suspended behind the left shoulder. The reverse features a dorsal pillar. The mummified torso and legs have 12 horizontal bands of hieroglyphs, which recall the 6th chapter of the Book of the Dead: the inscription begins, ‘Sḥḏ WsỈr ḥm-nṯr prt-ḫrw….’ (‘The illuminated one, the Osiris, the god, an offering..’).
Date: Circa 664-525 BC Period: 26th Dynasty Condition: Excellent condition; small chip to one hand and abrasions to the nose; some encrustation to the reverse.
Shabtis (or ushabtis) were figurines in mummified form, which were placed in Egyptian tombs to do any work required by the deceased in the afterlife. They were inscribed with a special formula (Shabti formula), which would call them to life when recited. Sometimes shabtis were also inscribed with passages from the Book of the Dead, the intention of which was to secure safety for the deceased in the afterlife. Shabtis were mostly made of faience, but wood, bronze, and stone were also used – towards the Late Period, the number of shabtis inside the tomb increased, eventually allowing one for each day of the year.
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