The Shabti is a small figure that is often found in the burial tombs of Ancient Egyptian Mummies. They are first documented in the Twelfth Century and used through to the Ptolemaic Period.

Originally made to look like the owner, they were later mass produced as so many people wanted them in burials.

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Third Intermediate Period, c. 1070 – 940 B.C. Egyptian. Blue-green glazed faience shabti on a modern stand. The clearly-detailed face wears a lappet wig with a black glaze horizontal band running around the head with a knot at the back, and the hands over the mummiform body hold black glaze depictions of an adze and a hoe with a seed bag over the left shoulder. The Egyptian idea of Paradise was an idealised reflection of Egypt itself, and this meant bountiful agriculture. In order for the blessed dead to avoid spending their eternities working the land alloted to them there, they required servants whom they could take to the afterlife. Shabti like this one were buried as grave goods, sometimes in groups of hundreds, to be brought to life for that very purpose. From the reign of Thutmose IV they carried agricultural tools to help them, like this one does. They are invoked in the Coffin Texts (spell 472) and the Book of the Dead (chapter 6).

Size: L:With stand: 115mm / W:60mm ; 80g

Provenance: From a private London collection; acquired on the UK art market in the 1960s/70s.

Learn more about Collecting Egyptian Antiquities

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