Shawabty of Petosiris

Egyptian
Late Period, Dynasty 30
380–332 B.C.


Findspot: Egypt, Abydos, Cemetery G, tomb of Djedhor (G 50)

Dimensions

Height x width x depth: 10 x 3.1 x 2.2 cm (3 15/16 x 1 1/4 x 7/8 in.)

Accession Number

02.787

Medium or Technique

Faience

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Shawabties and shawabty boxes

This shawabty of bright, light blue-glazed faience is in the classic Late Period mummiform style which is characterized by tripartite wig, long false beard, back pillar, and rectangular base. The figure holds the pick on the right shoulder and hoe and cord to a small seed bag on the left (implements of field work for use in the Afterlife). No inscription survives. This shawabty is intact.

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.

Provenance

From Abydos, cemetery G, tomb of Djedhor (G 50). 1902: excavated by William Matthew Flinders Petrie for the Egypt Exploration Fund, assigned to the Egypt Exploration Fund in the division of finds by the government of Egypt, received by the MFA through subscription to the Egypt Exploration Fund on November 17, 1902. (Accession Date: November 17, 1902)

Credit Line

Egypt Exploration Fund by subscription