Egyptian White Faience Shabti

SKU: HQ.0055

Origin: Egypt
Circa: New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty, 1550 BC - 1352 BC
Dimensions: 6.75" Height (17.15 cm)
Medium: Faience

The figure, of a pale frit, is shown in mummiform with contrasting painted decoration in black. With arms holded across the chest, an extensive broad collar with seven defined rows, short beard, sidelock, and seed basket on the reverse. A spell in hieroglyphs runs the length of the lower body.


Estate of Dr. John Schaeffer, actively collecting throughout the 1960s and 1980s; Private Collection, Los Angeles, CA

During the New Kingdom the role and number of shabtis changed. Previously, shabtis were seen as substitutes for the deceased's mummy to protect from destruction and ensure safe passage into the afterlife. As Egypt became more prosperous consumption shifted from a single shabti to anywhere up to ten figures, now acting as assistants to the deceased. This is when agricultural tools are added to the figures, a pick, hoe, seed baskets, water pots supported by a yoke, etc. Spells were also added at this time defining these agricultural roles and the duties of the shabti.

Shabtis: A Private View, Ancient Egyptian Funerary Statuettes in European Private Collections, Glenn James, for a discussion on the timeline of shabtis.

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