Requires Photography

Shawabty of Anlamani

Nubian
Napatan Period, reign of Anlamani
623–593 B.C.


Findspot: Sudan, Nubia, Nuri, Pyramid 6

Dimensions

Height: 26.1 cm (10 1/4 in.)

Accession Number

21.2752

Medium or Technique

Faience

Out on Loan

On display at Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, since November 30, 1998

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Shawabties and shawabty boxes

Faience, Type I 1 d. Royal headdress, hands opposite, 2 hoes and 1 cord; 8 lines of inscriptions. Cracked.

The ancient Nubians included shawabtys in their tombs only in the Napatan Period, about 750–270 B.C. These funerary figurines are based on Egyptian shawabtys, but differ from them in many features of their iconography. For instance, the known Nubian examples are only from royal tombs. Also, they have unique texts, implements, poses and are known to have the largest number of shawabtys included in one tomb. Their function, it is assumed, was the same as that of the Egyptian shawabty, namely 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

From Nubia (Sudan) Nuri, Pyramid 6 (tomb of Anlamani). 1917: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Sudan.

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition