Shawabty

Egyptian


Findspot: Egypt, Giza

Accession Number

07.562d

Medium or Technique

Pottery

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, The Ancient World

Classifications

Shawabties and shawabty boxes

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

Findspot Information: From Giza or Deir Rifah.

Credit Line

Egyptian Research Account by subscription