A carved wood figurine of a striding servant. The figure retains an impressive amount of red, black, and white pigment, particularly around the kilt, wig, and some of the facial features. There are shallow holes in the shoulders where both arms would have been affixed. The servant is stepping out on his left leg, and his hand is clenched. The hole running through the fist suggests that perhaps the figure originally held an attribute, but it is unclear what this might have been.
Date: Circa 2000 - 1800 BC Period: Middle Kingdom Condition: Fine condition; one arm missing; one arm loose but attached temporarily for purposes of photography; feet missing and right leg slightly shorter than left; surfaces with wear and some shallow cracks but essentially sound.
Wooden tomb models were an Egyptian funerary custom throughout the Middle Kingdom Period, which saw wooden figurines and sets constructed to be placed in the tombs of Egyptian royalty. The wooden models reflected a variety of tasks and chores which servants would be expected to carry out in the afterlife, and accordingly, many are depicted as performing a certain task. A chapter from Osiris’ Book of the Dead highlights the continued significance of servitude after death: “when you are counted upon at any time to serve there, to cultivate the fields, to irrigate the river banks, to ferry the sand of the west to the east and vice–versa, “here I am” you shall say.“. During the New Kingdom and into the Late Period (747–332 BC), the wooden models were replaced or developed into the Shabti form.
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