Requires Photography

Shawabty of Queen Tabiry

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


Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Nuri, Ku. 53

Dimensions

Overall: 8.8 cm (3 7/16 in.)

Accession Number

21.3224

Medium or Technique

Faience

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Shawabties and shawabty boxes

This is a shawabty belonging to Queen Tabiry, wife of King Piankhy (Piye). This male foreman shawabty figure wears a long beard, a tripartite wig and a short pleated kilt. He holds a whip in his right hand. The left leg is advanced and there is a plinth. There is no back pillar. The object was broken in two pieces and is now mended. The right back side of the head is broken off. The glaze is green.

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 t

Provenance

From Nubia (Sudan), el-Kurru, Ku. 53 (tomb of Queen Tabiry). 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 Sudan.

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition