Shabti box - 982x2.4_1


Shabti box

Medium:Wood. carved and painted
Geography: Undetermined site, Egypt
Date: c. 945-850 BC
Period: 22nd-23rd Dynasty, 3rd Intermediate Period
21 x 29 x 12.4 cm
Object number: 982x2.4
Not on view

This is a typical shabti container from the10th or 9th century BC of a type found in tombs in western Thebes. Shabtis are small human-form figurines placed in tombs to assist the deceased in the Afterworld with corvée labour, as detailed in Spell 6 of The Book of the Dead. In the Third Intermediate Period it became customary to produce sets of ca 364 shabtis, one for each day of the year; sometimes further overseer shabtis were added to supervise the workers. The box is painted a monochrome black, which is typical for early shabti boxes of Aston's type VIIA. Chips are missing from the paint. 

The box is roughly made out of five pieces of wood. The two sides are rectangular measuring c 29 x 19.5 cm. The two end pieces have curved tops measuring 26 x 14.5 cm and projecting c. 3.5 cm above the sides; their bases are square and extend c. 2 cm below the base of the box. The rectangular base board is unpainted and measures c. 26 x 12 cm. The interior is unpainted. The sides and ends are attached to the bottom by 8 wooden pegs. The lid is made out of three additional pieces of wood, which is typical for these early shabti boxes from the late 10th and early 9 centuries BC. Each of these pieces is attached by wooden dowels. One large piece is attached by five dowels, while the smaller pieces are attached by one or two dowels. The centre section is loose and is attached by only a single dowel.



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