Shawabty of Steward Nedjem

New Kingdom, Dynasty 18–20
1349–1070 B.C.


Height x width: 9.6 x 3.1 cm (3 3/4 x 1 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Stone (limestone or steatite?)

Not On View


The Ancient World


Shawabties and shawabty boxes

This shawabty of stone carried a green glaze, much of which is now worn, leaving a brown discoloration. It depicts a male wearing the dress of the living, including a pleated kilt/skirt. Arms are placed down at the sides. The lower portion only remains, with the left torso and head broken off and missing. Incised hieroglyphic text around the kilt identifies the owner as “Overseer/steward of the house Nedjem.” The foot is in somewhat battered condition with a fragment missing from the proper right side. A chip is also missing from the lower right of the kilt. A fragment chipped from the right torso has been reattached.

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