Egyptian Middle Kingdom Wooden Servant

£ 480.00

A carved wooden 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. The arms are elongated to reach the knees, and the calves are not visible. Much of the detailing to the face is eroded, although the eye sockets, nose, and mouth can be seen clearly. The piece is carved from one piece of wood, as opposed to similar examples in which the arms and legs are affixed using wooden pins.


Date: Circa 2000 - 1800 BC
Period: Middle Kingdom
Condition: Fine condition; surfaces with wear and some cracks, more so around his left knee, but essentially sound, with black and white 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.

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 19.6 g
Dimensions W 4.0 x H 10.9 cm




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