Shawabty of a Deputy of the Temple of Amen

Likely Late Period, Dynasty 25–30
760–332 B.C.


Height x width: 14.4 x 5.1 cm (5 11/16 x 2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Black stone (granite?)

Not On View


The Ancient World


Shawabties and shawabty boxes

This shawabty of black stone, possibly granite, depicts a mummiform figure wearing tripartite wig. Incised lines on the wig denote tresses. The figure’s arms are crossed opposite right over left on the chest and holding implements of field work. The right hand holds a large hoe and a cord to a small bag slung over the back of the left shoulder. The right left hand holds another hoe. Detailing is both modelled and incised. The face and hands are substantially worn. Portions of six lines of incised hieroglyphic text remain on the surviving portion of the legs. The lower part of the legs has broken away, taking some text. The break has been worn to rounded edge.

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.


By 1912: with the estate of Professor Henry Williamson Hayes. 1912: Gift of the Estate of Professor Henry Williamson Haynes, through Miss Sarah H. Blanchard.
(Accession Date: July 18, 1912)

Credit Line

Gift from the Estate of Professor Henry Williamson Haynes