Shabti of Chantress of Amun-ra - ROM2019_17387_43


Shabti of Chantress of Amun-ra

Medium:Wood, carved and painted
Geography: Excavated at Deir el-Medina, Egypt
Date: c. 1186-1069 BC
Period: 20th Dynasty, Ramesside Period, New Kingdom
20 × 5.3 × 3.2 cm
Object number: 980.175
Credit Line: Presented To The Royal Ontario Museum By The Art Gallery Of Ontario On April 22, 1980, In Recognition Of The Contribution Of Dr. Nicholas B. Millet To The Toronto Showing Of The Treasures Of Tutankhamen, 1979.
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

Shabtis are small human-form figurines placed in tombs to assist the deceased in the afterworld as detailed in Spell 6 of The Book of the Dead. This shabti is from the village of Deir el-Medina which housed the workers who prepared the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Although reading her name is problematic, this shabti figure belongs to a woman who was a chantress in the Temple of Amun-Ra in Thebes. This title indicates that by performing in religious ritual she had a certain status  in her community. She also has the title ‘Mistress of the House" which is the most common female title, suggesting a married woman managing a household.

This painted wooden shabti is carved in the shape of a female mummy with arms crossed above the waist. Her long oval face has carved brows, eyes, nose, mouth and projecting chin and was originally painted red. Much of the  paint has worn off, but the eyes and brows were originally painted in black.  She wears a long tripartite wig painted black with a festal garland (cream with red paint details) topped by a  lotus flower (blue/green paint) on the top of her head. She wears a long shawl collar indicated by painted bands (light blue, blue, cream-yellow, and red). Her red painted hands each hold a red painted hoe. On the cream-painted back of figure, each shoulder is covered with a basket formed by red criss-cross lines.  At the small of her back is painted in red a carrying pole above two water pots.

The lower part of the figure is decorated with four horizontal lines of black-painted text that is poorly preserved. Red horizontal rule lines mark the top and bottom of each line of text. The top and bottom lines run across the back of the figure delimiting an area from the waist to the shins above the ankles.  In the centre of the back this area is decorated with a trellis-like pattern, with diagonal red criss-cross lines, with a black dot in the centre of each diamond.  Double vertical red painted lines demarcate the space and short horizontal black stripes connect the lines on either side.  This pattern may possibly represent a beaded garment or alternatively the back of a cartonnage mummy case that has been sewn together.

If you see an error or have additional information, please contact us by clicking here.