Shawabty of Psamtik-seneb

Late Period, Dynasty 26
664–525 B.C.


Height x width: 18.5 x 4.7 cm (7 5/16 x 1 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Shawabties and shawabty boxes

Green faience shawabty, broken at the knees and repaired in antiquity. The figure wears a long wig and false beard and holds a pair of hoes. Horizontal lines of text around the lower body and legs name the owner as Payabu/Psamtikseneb.
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.


By 1979: Mrs Horace L. Mayer collection; given to the MFA by Mrs. Mayer November 1979.

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Horace L. Mayer