Egyptian Green Glazed Faience Ushabti with Provenance


A beautifully modelled Ancient Egyptian green glazed faience Ushabti. The figure is portrayed mummiformed, with a tripartite wig and a striated plaited beard of the divine. The arms are crossed on the chest, holding a hoe and a pick while the reverse features a dorsal pillar. The mummified body features four horizontal incised rows of hieroglyphs from Chapter Six of the Book of the Dead. This shabti originally belonged to James Ewing Somerville (1843-1923) who visited Egypt and Palestine in 1866. The shabti features to the reverse the writing ‘Brought from Arab at Pyramids’, one of the most evocative comment on an ancient artefact someone could hope to find.

Date: Circa 712-223 BC
Period: Late Period, 27th-30th Dynasty
Provenance: From the collection of James Ewing Somerville (1843-1923) who visited Egypt and Palestine in 1866
Condition: Very fine condition, few earthly encrustations.


SKU: CG-40 Category: Tags: , ,

Ushabtis or Shabtis were figurines designed to be placed in tombs. They take the appearance of human mummified figures, usually with their arms crossed at their chest. They could be made using several materials, such as wood, clay and faience, which remains the most common, especially in its blue or green shades. Shabtis were intended to act as servants for the deceased and to perform any manual labour for them 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 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 121.7 g
Dimensions L 14.2 x W 4 cm





Reference: For a similar item, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, item 31.836