Shawabty of Pashed

New Kingdom, early Dynasty 19
1295–1213 B.C.


Height x width: 22.5 x 6.6 cm (8 7/8 x 2 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Shawabties and shawabty boxes

This shawabty is carved of a hard, fine-grained, light-brown wood with well smoothed surfaces. It depicts a characteristically mummiform figure wearing tripartite wig, painted black. The paint stops short of the ends of the front lappets of hair to indicate bands. Arms are crossed right over left on the chest. The hands and face are painted reddish-brown, with facial details accented in black. Seven horizontal bands of hieroglyphic text have been applied to the legs, mostly painted on in black but with one incised. The text indicates that the shawabty was made for the “Servant of the Place of Truth, Pashed” (sDm-aS m st maAt).

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.


Possibly from Theban Tomb 3 (TT3), Thebes (Luxor). 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 28,1872)

Credit Line

Hay Collection—Gift of C. Granville Way