7.2 cm (2 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Deep blue glaze, Faience

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, The Ancient World


Shawabties and shawabty boxes

Details not clear. Pillar at back and base under feet.
An ancient Egyptian shawabty is a funerary figurine that was intended to magically animate in the Afterlife in order to act as a proxy for the deceased when called upon to tend to field labor or other tasks. This expressed purpose was sometimes written on the shawabty itself in the form of a “Shawabty Spell,” of which versions of various lengths are known. Shorter shawabty inscriptions could also just identify the deceased by name and, when applicable, title(s). However, many shawabtys carry no text at all. The ideal number of such figurines to include in a tomb or burial seems to have varied during different time periods.

Credit Line

Gift of John Ellerton Lodge