Requires Photography

Shawabty of Hetepwesir(?)

Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 21–24(?)
1070–712 B.C.

Findspot: Egypt, Giza, Avenue G 1, debris N of subsidiary pyramid G I


Overall: 3.1 cm (1 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Shawabties and shawabty boxes

This is an upper leg fragment of a Third Intermediate Period or Late New Kingdom shawabty. There are no details and no implemets visible. There is an unframed column of painted text down the front of the figure which is partly illigible but appears to read Hetepwesir. This may be the name of the owner, or possibly this text represents the middle portion of a Hetep di Neswt formula addressed to Osiris.

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 Giza, [Avenue G 1], debris N of subsidiary pyramid G I-b. 1924: 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