Requires Photography

Shawabty of King Piankhy (Piye)

Nubian
Napatan Period, reign of Piankhy (Piye)
743–712 B.C.


Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), el-Kurru, Pyramid 17, debris in stair and chamber

Dimensions

Overall: 6.2 cm (2 7/16 in.)

Accession Number

21.13013

Medium or Technique

Faience

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Shawabties and shawabty boxes

This is a shawabty of King Piankhy (Piye). The object was broken in two pieces and is not mended. There is one unframed column of painted text which includes the cartouche on the front of the figure. This mummiform shape does not have a back pillar or base. No hands or implements are depicted. The object is half molded with a flat dressed back. It is missing from waist up and a chip is missing from the right side of the ankle.

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

Provenance

From Nubia (Sudan), el-Kurru, Pyramid 17 (tomb of King Piankhy (Piye)), debris in stair and chamber. 1919: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of the Sudan.

Accession date: August 1, 2007

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition