Requires Photography


Late Period, Dynasty 26–30
664–332 B.C.

Findspot: Egypt, Giza, G 7450 x-II, debris in pit


Overall: 2 cm (13/16 in.) Overall: 1.6 cm (5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Shawabties and shawabty boxes

These two foot fragments come from Late Period shawabtys. While they are only foot fragments, the Late Period typology consists of a tripartite wig, long beard, back pillar and base, with the figure holding the pick on the right shoulder and hoe and cord to a small seed bag on the left. Here in this type is complete the arms are crossed opposite right over left.The shawabty is uninscribed. The beard is plaited. These 2 fragments each include only the ankles, feet, and base.

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 length 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.


From Egypt, Giza G 7450x-II, in debris. 1927: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Egypt.
The smaller piece was found in a box of shawabtys from el-Kurru.

Credit Line

Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition