Requires Photography

Shawabty of Queen Tabiry

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


Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), el-Kurru, Ku. 53

Dimensions

Overall: 7 cm (2 3/4 in.)

Accession Number

21.13719

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). The female figure has a tripartite wig with no uraeus. She wears a long sheath dress with no visible hem line. The arms with open hands are held straight down at the sides. There is no back pillar or base. The figure is uninscribed. It is missing the feet. The object was broken in two pieces and is not mended.

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 fiel

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 the Sudan.

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition