Shawabty box/coffin

Late Period, Dynasty 25
760–660 B.C.


Length x width (Box): 24.7 x 10.1 cm (9 3/4 x 4 in.) Length x width (Lid): 24.7 x 9.8 cm (9 3/4 x 3 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Shawabties and shawabty boxes

This shawabty box of light colored wood has been carved as a rectangular coffin with barrel lid. Preserved painted decoration inclues three rectangles on each long side and one at each end, all with white priming and borders of pale green. The entire surface of both coffin and lid were probably originally white. In one side panel are a pair of wedjat-eyes and shen-hieroglyph, all painted in black. The lid carries the same offering formula on upper and lower sides in black painted hieroglyphic text within a border of green lines. The text reads: “An offering which the king gives (to) Osiris (for) Nsi(?)-Amen.” Surfaces are generally somewhat worn, and there is some insect damage evident. Current contents of the box include varied debris and at least one (animal?) bone.


By 1836: Robert Hay Collection, Linplum, Scotland; 1863: to his son, Robert James Alexander Hay; 1868-1872: Way Collection, Boston (purchased by Samuel A. Way through London dealers Rollin and Feuardent, 27 Haymarket); 1872: given to the MFA by Samuel's son, C. Granville Way. (Accession Date: June 18, 1872)

Credit Line

Hay Collection—Gift of C. Granville Way