Shawabty of Queen Tabiry
Napatan Period, reign of Piankhy (Piye)
Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), el-Kurru, Ku. 53
Overall: 7.8 cm (3 1/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
This is a shawabty belonging to Queen Tabiry, wife of King Piankhy (Piye). The female figure has a tripartite wig with no uraeus. She wears a long sheath dress with no visible hem line. The arms with open hands are held straight down at the sides. There is no back pillar or base. The figure is uninscribed.
The ancient Nubians included shawabtys in their tombs only in the Napatan Period, about 750–270 B.C. These funerary figurines are based on Egyptian shawabtys, but differ from them in many features of their iconography. For instance, the known Nubian examples are only from royal tombs. Also, they have unique texts, implements, poses and are known to have the largest number of shawabtys included in one tomb. Their function, it is assumed, was the same as that of the Egyptian shawabty, namely 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 shaw
From Nubia (Sudan), el-Kurru, Ku. 53 (tomb of Queen Tabiry). 1919: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Sudan.
Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition