Requires Photography

Shawabty of Sheshonk

Egyptian
Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 21–24
1070–712 B.C.


Findspot: Egypt, Giza, debris at SW corner of mastaba G 7169

Dimensions

Overall: 13 cm (5 1/8 in.)

Accession Number

27.2236

Medium or Technique

Faience

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Shawabties and shawabty boxes

This is a head and torso fragment of a Third Intermediate Period shawabty. The rght arm is bent and holds a flail and the left arm is extended straight down at his side. The face is compltely chipped off and there are small chips missing overall, including on the right and left hands. The implements, details of the wig, beard, bracelet on the right wrist, and text are painted in black. The text is written in black in a single framed column on the front. It is inscribed for the jry pat, Sheshonk. The figure has a painted rectangular basket held with two straps on the back. As is typical for this period, there is no back pillar.

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.Large faience figure, left arm extended at side (figure broken from there), right arm bent and holding flail; grayish paste, blue glaze, design and inscription in black; face destroyed.

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.

This shawabti is inscribed with two vertical lines containing Sheshonk’s name and titles.

Provenance

From Giza, debris at SW corner of mastaba G 7169. 1927: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Egypt.

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition