Requires Photography

Fragments of shawabtys of Queen Tabiry

Nubian
Napatan Period, reign of Piankhy (Piye)
743–712 B.C.


Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), el-Kurru, Ku. 53

Dimensions

Largest: 4.3 cm (1 11/16 in.) Smallest: 1 cm (3/8 in.)

Accession Number

19-4-145a.3

Medium or Technique

Faience

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Shawabties and shawabty boxes

This is a box of fragments of shawabtys belonging to Queen Tabiry, wife of King Piankhy (Piye). It consists of 89 head/shoulder and head fragments, one of which is in two pieces and one in three pieces. When complete, the female figure has a tripartite wig with no uraeus. She wears a long sheath dress with no visible hem line. The arms with open hands are held straight down at the sides. There is no back pillar or base. The figure is uninscribed.

The ancient Nubians included shawabtys in their tombs only in the Napatan Period, about 750–270 B.C. These funerary figurines are based on Egyptian shawabtys, but differ from them in many features of their iconography. For instance, the known Nubian examples are only from royal tombs. Also, they have unique texts, implements, poses and are known to have the largest number of shawabtys included in one tomb. Their function, it is assumed, was the same as that of the Egyptian shawabty, namely to magically animate in the Afterlife in order to a

Provenance

From Nubia (Sudan), el-Kurru, Ku. 53 (tomb of Queen Tabiry ).1919: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of the Sudan.

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition