Ancient Egyptian 26th Dynasty Ushabti for Saiset


A very finely modelled Ancient Egyptian turquoise glazed faience ushabti, with seven horizontal lines of hieroglyphic text. The ushabti is shown wearing a tripartite wig and a false beard. Its hands, depicted parallel and in relief, hold an adze and a hoe. A basket hangs behind him on his left shoulder. The body has been inscribed with hieroglyphs in linear formation, with seven rows of text. The reverse features a back pillar, also inscribed with hieroglyphs. The moulded details remain very well preserved, with very clear facial features and hieroglyphs.

The hieroglyphs transliterate as:

1. ḏd mdw i-wsbtt ipm ir (i)p

2. ṯ(w) Wsir rh-nsw fkty S} -ist

3. (r) ir (t) k} (t) nb(t) im (m) hrt-nṯr i(s)t hwi sḏb im

4. (m) s nb r hr(t) . F mk (wi) k}. tn

5. ip. t (w) tn r nw nb ir (t) im r srwḏ

6. sh(w)t r smh wḏbt

7. (r) hni s’ n imntt mk (wi) k}. tn

The translation of the hieroglyphs reads:

1. ‘O, this ushebty, if

2. one reckons the Osiris, the King’s Aquaintance, the Fekt priest, Saiset,

3. (to) do any work there (in) the underworld, for lo, obstacles are implanted there

4. (as for) any man as his duty, “Behold (me), you shall say

5. If you are reckoned at any time to work there, to

6. make the fields flourish, to irrigate the riparian-land

7. or (to) transport sand of the west, “Behold (me). you shall say”

Date: Circa 664 - 525 BC
Period: Late Period, 26th Dynasty
Provenance: From a Surrey gentleman's collection (DG), purchased on the London Art Market from an ADA member, formed 1990's onward. European example.
Condition: Very fine condition. Some loss of glaze to left side and hairline crack to the base.


SKU: AH-1011 Category: Tags: , ,

Shabtis  or ushabtis are among the most numerous of all Egyptian antiquities, as they played a major role in funeral rites. Indeed, they were intended to act as servants for the deceased and to perform any manual labour for their master in the afterlife. For this to be possible, it was necessary that each shabti present in the grave had the name of their master inscribed on it and also a summoning spell to which they replied. In fact, shabti – or ushabti – translates as “the answerer”. Such figurines could also be inscribed with passages from the Book of the Dead, the intention of which was to secure safety for the deceased in the afterlife.

To discover more about Egyptian shabtis, please visit our relevant blog post: How Ancient Egyptian Shabtis and Funerary Statuettes Watched Over the Dead.

Weight 59.9 g
Dimensions W 3.2 x H 10.3 cm

Egyptian Mythology