Ancient Egyptian Wood Tomb Statuette of a Male Servant

£ 850.00

A fine Ancient Egyptian carved wood figurine of a standing male servant retaining an impressive amount of yellow, black and white pigments, as well as relatively clear definition of its facial features. The man is dressed in a shendyt kilt, painted in white pigment, also used to emphasised the eyes. Some details remain to the carved nose and plump lips raised in a faint smile.  Both arms are affixed to the servant’s body through wooden pegs, which allow them to perform a circular movement. His right left arm is bent in front of his body, whilst his right rests straight next to his body, as he holds a long stick in his hand. This is likely to be a stirrer used for making bread or beer, typical offerings in Ancient Egyptian burials.

Date: Circa 2050-1652 BC
Period: Middle Kingdom
Provenance: From a UK collection; formerly in an early 20th century collection.
Condition: Fine condition, A crack in the wood runs from the head down to the chest and pelvis of the statuette. An additional crack runs on the back of the figure. Additional wear of the wood on the left hip and right leg.

SOLD

Wooden tomb models were an Egyptian funerary custom throughout the Middle Kingdom Period, which saw wooden figurines and sets constructed to be placed in the tombs of Egyptian royalty. Such models reflected a variety of tasks and chores which servants were expected to carry out in the afterlife. A chapter from Osiris’ Book of the Dead highlights the continued significance of servitude after death: “when you are counted upon at any time to serve there, to cultivate the fields, to irrigate the river banks, to ferry the sand of the west to the east and vice–versa, “here I am” you shall say.“ During the New Kingdom and into the Late Period, these wooden statuettes were replaced or developed into the Shabti form.

Bread and beer were particularly important in the Egyptian funerary context, representing the key elements of the offering formula prtḫrw. The term refers to the ‘invocation offerings’ which the deceased was called to partake, and is regularly written with the bread and beer signs. By the Middle Kingdom, the prtḫrw formula had become a fixed expression used to indicate the offerings themselves, assuming the more general meaning of ‘ritual offerings’.

To find out more about Egyptian funerary statuettes please see our relevant blog post: How Ancient Egyptian Shabtis and Funerary Statuettes Watched Over the Dead.

Weight 91.2 g
Dimensions W 6.1 x H 21.5 cm
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