Requires Photography

Shawabty of Horemakhet born of Hetepbastetrew

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


Findspot: Egypt, Giza, Pit G 7524 A, room VII

Dimensions

Overall: 9.1 cm (3 9/16 in.)

Accession Number

29.3663

Medium or Technique

Faience

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Shawabties and shawabty boxes

This Late Period shawabty is inscribed for Horemakhet born of Hetepbastetrew. The typology of the Late Period 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 the arms are crossed right over left. The beard is plaited. There is no wig line on the back of the figure. The incised text on the back pillar extends to to the top of the back of the head. Three dots, representing plural strokes, at the bottom of the inscription are vertical rather than horizontal.

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

From Giza, Pit G 7524 A, room VII, [originally from room III or room VI, probably room VI]. 1929: 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