Shawabty of Wennakht (?)

Egyptian
Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 21–22
1070–700 B.C.


Dimensions

Height: 9.5cm (3 3/4in.)

Accession Number

RES.22.28

Medium or Technique

Blue glazed

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Shawabties and shawabty boxes

This small shawabty is fashioned of uniformly light blue-glazed faience. It depicts a mummiform figure wearing a tripartite wig. Arms are crossed opposite, left over right. The hands hold implements of field work, specifically a hoe in each hand rendered in black paint. Also in black are the accents on the shawabty’s facial features and a seshed headband. Black hieroglyphic text runs down the front of the legs. It identifies the owner, reading: “O Osiris Wennakht (?), True-of-Voice” (Transliteration: i Wsir wn-nXt mAa xrw). There is a fragment missing from the right side of the foot. The shawabty shows wear on many surfaces.

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.

Provenance

By 1922: with John Ellerton Lodge. 1922: Given to the MFA by John Ellerton Lodge. (Accession Date: April 6, 1922)

Credit Line

Gift of John Ellerton Lodge