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 cm (2 3/8 in.)

Accession Number

21.12996

Medium or Technique

Faience

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Shawabties and shawabty boxes

This is a torso fragment of a shawabty of King Piankhy (Piye). The wig line is present. This mummiform shape does not have a back pillar or base. No hands or implements are depicted. There is one unframed column of painted text which shows a cartouche on the front of the figure.

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 o

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