Requires Photography

Shawabty

Egyptian
Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 21–24
1070–712 B.C.


Findspot: Egypt, Giza, Street G 7300 debris S of wall G 7300 Pt

Dimensions

Overall: 4.2 cm (1 5/8 in.)

Accession Number

27.2227

Medium or Technique

Faience

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Shawabties and shawabty boxes

This is a lower legs fragment of a shawabty which dates to the Third Intermediate period. The feet are broken off. As is typical for this period, there is no back pillar. The fragmentary text is written in black in one framed vertical column down the front of the figure. It is inscribed for (?)..mwt…(?). Most of the bright blue-green glaze remains.

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.

This shawabti is inscribed with one vertical line containing the name of the deceased.

Provenance

From Giza, Street G 7300, debris S of Roman crude brick wall G 7300 Pt. 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.

Credit Line

Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition