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. The hoe and basket carried implies that they were intended to farm in the afterlife or at least perform manual labour.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.
Blue Faience Egyptian Shabti
A pale turquoise faience Egyptian shabti modelled with a tripartite wig and false beard. His arms are crossed and holding agricultural tools within his hands, with the seed bag hanging over his left shoulder. A T-shaped panel of clear hieroglyphic text has been inscribed to the front of the shabti, wrapping around the sides. A plain, dorsal pillar has been added to the reverse.
Period: Late Period
Provenance: From a French private collection, Paris
Condition: Very fine with some signs of aging on the surface. Mounted on a custom made stand.