Ancient Egyptian Faience Shabti

£ 275.00

An ancient Egyptian faience shabti in a vibrant light turquoise colour. The figure wears a traditional tripartite wig with a delicately painted black fillet, known as a Seshet hair band, which is tied at the back. The facial features are worn but eye depressions, a nose, and a rounded chin are decipherable. Remnants of black pigment provide extra detail for the eyes with an iris and eyebrow visible on one side . The profile of the hands is also quite eroded but it appears they sit in the customary position, crossed in front of the chest with the shoulders and upper arms protruding from the sides. Remnants of black pigment can be seen on the chest, which would have typically depicted the tools carried by the shabti. It is possible the shabti was once decorated with a painted black inscription; perhaps the name of the deceased and an intercession to Osiris, as is common for Third Intermediate Period figurines. Black pigment can be seen on the shabti’s feet. On the back, the remains of a painted reed basket can be seen.

Date: Circa 1069 - 664 BC
Period: Third Intermediate Period
Provenance: From a Private Dorset collection, 1980s-1990s.
Condition: Good Condition. The form of the shabti is fairly worn, with details such as the lower arms and hands no longer visible. There are scratches and pockmarks over the surface consistent with age. There are some larger cracks along one of the upper arm, face, and wig. A small amount of the black pigment decoration is still present.


SKU: MJ-26 Category: Tags: , ,

Shabtis, or ushebtis from the Third Intermediate Period, are small figurines buried with the deceased, intended to carry out menial labour on their owner’s behalf in the afterlife. To reflect this function, they are usually depicted in the form of a mummy holding tools in their hands – baskets, mattocks and hoes. Shabtis are among the most numerous of Egyptian antiquities, as they played a major role in funeral rites. During the Third Intermediate Period, it was typical for burials to contain hundreds of shabtis.The Egyptians worked to a 10-day week, with 5 days as holiday. A year consisted of 360 days. To accommodate this work schedule in the afterlife, burials contained close to 400 shabtis; 365 workers and 36 overseers.

The quality of ushebtis in this period declines. Whilst many shabtis were inscribed with the title and name of the owner, or chapter 6 of the Book of the Dead, towards the end of the Third Intermediate Period, this declines. It was common to include plain figurines, made simply and poorly.

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

Weight 105.6 g
Dimensions L 11.7 x W 3.80 x H 3.10 cm



Reference: For a similar item,The Metropolitan Museum of Art, item

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