Egyptian Faience Overseer Shabti with Hieroglyphic Inscriptions

£ 795.00

An Egyptian glazed faience shabti with hieroglyphic inscriptions one the front. The figure is pale blue-green in colour. He wears a wig painted in black. The face is modelled in relief with facial features painted in black. He  holds whip a staff with his folded the right hand and the left arm hangs down by the side. The shabti is wearing a kilt with a projecting frontal apron that bears a column of hieroglyphic inscriptions. The inscriptions were not fully legible due to the deterioration of the glaze. The first row probably reads  𓋴𓌉𓆓𓇶 sḥḏ, “the illuminated”. The subsequent row contain one hieroglyphic sign each and most probably read as 𓁹𓊩 Wsı͗r “Osiris”. This is a standard formula referring to the deceased as the illuminated Osiris. By convention, the signs following this formula were probably the title or name of the deceased. The first two signs might possibly be 𓅮pꜣ and𓂞 dı͗, the following could possibly be  𓏠𓇋 𓁩 which usually used in the combination  𓏠𓇋 𓈖𓁩ı͗mn to indicate the god Amun. If so the name of the deceased could possibly be “Padiamun” (he whom Amun gave), a popular male name in ancient Egypt.

Date: Circa 1069-850 BC
Period: Third Intermediate Period
Provenance: From a Private Dorset collection, 1980s-1990s.
Condition: Fair condition. Chip to the top of the head, right shoulder, right corner of kilt and feet. Encrustation to the surface. Loss of paint and glaze consistent with age.

In stock

SKU: XJ-46 Category: Tags: , , ,

Shabtis are among the most numerous of Egyptian antiquities, as they played a major role in funeral rites. These figurines are 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 with crossed hands holding tools – baskets, mattocks and hoes. Our shabti is a special form of shabti which appeared in the early Third Intermediate Period. Instead of holding tools, it has a hand to the side and the other holding a whip. These shabtis are ‘overseers’ who manage a team of ten worker shabtis each. For instance, a typical elite burial would then have thirty-six overseers to keep control of the three hundred and sixty-five ordinary workers. However, from the Late Period ‘overseer’ types were no longer popular. Some shabtis were inscribed with a spell in which the deceased calls the shabtis to work called the “Shabti spell”. This spell is taken from chapter 6 of the Book of the Dead and is also attested in the Coffin text spell 472. However, most shabtis like ours were simply inscribed with the title and name of the owner.

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

Weight 94.5 g
Dimensions L 3.7 x W 2.5 x H 11.2 cm



Reference: For a similar item, National Museums Liverpool, Liverpool, item 52.55.150

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