Egypt, 19th Dynasty, 1292 to 1189 BCE. This is a tall wooden shabti that would have originally been covered in plaster and painted with facial features, headdress, and hieroglyphs. The arms are crossed over its chest and are holding hoes (for a clearer photo of a shabti holding hoes in the similar manner, see the Faience shabti of Sety I on the British Museum website). Shabti (or ushabti) dolls are figures shaped like adult male or female mummies wearing the traditional ancient Egyptian headdresses. The ancient Egyptians believed that after they died, their spirits would have to work in the "Field of Reeds" owned by the god of the underworld, Osiris. This meant doing agricultural labor -- and it was required by all members of society, from workers to pharaohs. Although wood shabti seem to have been used by the middle classes (as opposed to the nicer faience ones used by the upper class), the word shabti may have been derived from "swb" (stick) or "shab"(the Persea tree from which the earliest shabti were carved). Size: 3" W x 8.75" H (7.6 cm x 22.2 cm)
Provenance: ex-David Dami Collection, Ft Lauderdale, FL, USA; ex-Sotheby's, December 7, 2005 auction.
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