Shawabty of Psamtik-seneb
Overall: 8.3 cm (3 1/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
This is a shawabty of Psamtik-seneb. It dates to the Late Period. The typology of this 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. The back pillar is very shallow and there is a faint seed bag onthe left back shoulder. Here the arms are crossed right over left. There is one unframed column of incised text on the front of the figure.
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.