An Egyptian Glazed Composite Shabti For Sa-Aset
This is a well detailed shabti for the King's Acquaintance and Shaven Priest Sa-Aset. The indication "King's Acquaintance" was an official title; in the Old Kingdom it indicated that the bearer of the title had access to the royal palace, but in later years the title, like so many others, had become purely honorary. The words "Shaven Priest" are a priestly title; in Egypt, all priests had to shave themselves. Herodotus informs us: "The priests shave their whole body every other day, that no lice or other impure thing may adhere to them when they are engaged in the service of the gods" (Histories II, 37).
Sa-Aset is wearing a tripartite wig and has a plaited beard. He is holding the usual agricultural implements in his hands, executed in relief. A seed back is showing on the back, slung over his proper left shoulder. The shabti has a back pillar and plinth.
There are six lines of deeply incuse and therefore clearly readable hieroglyphs across the front of the body, and the inscription is continued down the back pillar. The text contains not only his name and titles, but also the spell from the Book of the Dead that is devoted to the shabti (spell 6). This text tells to shabti to answer by saying "Here I am", whenever the owner of the shabti is called upon to do any work in the hereafter; the tasks mentioned on this shabti include cultivating the fields, irrigating the river banks and ferrying the sand of the east.
Dating: 26th dynasty, ca. 664-525 B.C.
Height: 9.8 cm.
Provenance: German private collection W.R.; previously Greg Manning Galleries, New Jersey, 22 January - 26 February 1996; previously US private collection, 1970s.
This lot will be sold not subject to a reserve. The starting price is the price at which the item can sell.
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Intact, with some wear and surface damage; small areas of loss of the glaze; some encrustation, discoloration and staining throughout, as shown.