Requires Photography

Shawabty of King Piankhy (Piye)

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


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

Dimensions

Overall: 5.5 cm (2 3/16 in.)

Accession Number

21.12959

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 is missing from thighs down. The object was half molded with a flat dressed back. This foreman shawbty figure wears a bag wig with an uraeus. He holds a whip in his left hand. There is one unframed column of painted text which shows the cartouche on the back of the figure. The object has a crack across the top of it’s head and the back of the head is chipped off.

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 decease

Provenance

From Nubia (Sudan), el-Kurru, Ku 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.

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition