Egyptian Middle Kingdom Wood Servant Figure
A carved wood figurine of a seated servant, with his hands on his knees. Much of the figure is decorated with dark red pigments, with additional white to depict the kilt, and black to pick out the wig. Good traces of the pigments remain on the face, although one eye is damaged. This figure is carved from one piece of wood, as opposed to other examples in which the arms and legs are attached using wooden pins. The hole at the base of the left hand may have held an attribute, defining which role or job this particular servant was expected to fulfil in the afterlife.
Circa 2000 - 1800 BCPeriod:
Fine condition; surfaces with wear and cracks, more so around the left shoulder, and surface dig to his right cheek, but essentially sound, with good amounts of pigments remaining.
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. The wooden models reflected a variety of tasks and chores which servants would be expected to carry out in the afterlife, and accordingly, many are depicted as performing a certain task. 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 (747–332 BC), the wooden models were replaced or developed into the Shabti form.