Requires Photography

Shawabty of Amasis

Egyptian
Late Period, Dynasty 26
664–525 B.C.


Dimensions

Length x width: 13.5 x 3.5 cm (5 5/16 x 1 3/8 in.)

Accession Number

1979.608

Medium or Technique

Faience

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Shawabties and shawabty boxes

Greenish faience, mold-made shawabty with long wig and false beard, holding a pair of hoes. Vertical inscription down the center of the lower body and legs names the owner as Amasis.
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

By 1979: Mrs Horace L. Mayer collection; given to the MFA by Mrs. Mayer November 1979.

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Horace L. Mayer