Uninscribed shabti wearing dress of daily life - ROM2019_17387_38


Uninscribed shabti wearing dress of daily life

Medium:Wood, carved and painted
Geography: Undetermined site, Egypt
Date: c. 1295-1069 BC
Period: 19th-20th Dynasty, Ramesside Period, New Kingdom
20.9 × 6.1 × 4.4 cm
Object number: 948.34.40
Credit Line: Gift of Sir Robert Mond
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. In the 19th Dynasty a new form of shabti wearing the dress of daily life was introduced. An example of this new form of shabti is this carved wooden male standing figure  depcited in typical Ramesside costume, namely a shirt with sleeves flaring to the elbow and a long ankle-length skirt. By the Third Intermediate Period, such figures become overseer shabtis. The facial features of this shabti, namely eyes, brows, nose, and mouth, are finely carved, but the surface is worn with chips missing.  He wears a lappet wig which covers the ears and which only goes down to the shoulders in the back. The small of the back and the buttocks are slightly modelled.  There is a large vertical crack with pieces missing on the back of the head, as well as vertical cracking on the back of the body.  The arms are folded right over left and the hands shown clenched in fists, without holding any implements. The top of the skirt is marked under the belly and traces of black paint indicate the pleating of the skirt. There is vertical cracking and the top part of the overskirt or apron is missing. The front part of the feet are missing.  They stand on a narrow (5 mm wide) plinth marked by an incised line. The bottom is flat, but is covered with a wax-like substance (perhaps once used to fix the figurine in place).

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