Requires Photography

Shawabty

Egyptian
Late Period
760–332 B.C.


Findspot: Egypt

Accession Number

RES.62.93

Medium or Technique

Faience

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Shawabties and shawabty boxes

Blue glazed faience shawabty.
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.

Provenance

Bequest of Mrs. Godfrey Peckitt. 1962: Accepted by the MFA; 1969: Arrived at the MFA.

Credit Line

Bequest of Mrs. Godfrey Peckitt