Egypt, Third Intermediate Period, ca. 1070 to 712 BCE. An ushabti (shabti) of pale blue and green faience with five lines of hieroglyphs and mummiform design. Size: 1.6" W x 5.8" H (4.1 cm x 14.7 cm); height with stand is 6.3" (16 cm).
Ushabti were placed in tombs as grave goods, created to do manual labor for the deceased in the afterlife. As a result, they are frequently depicted with arms crossed, holding hoes and baskets. By the Third Intermediate period, this practice had become so necessary and elaborate that some tombs contained one worker for every day of the year and thirty-six overseers, each responsible for ten laborers. Workers like this one are from that period of enormous proliferation, and are some of our best surviving insights into ancient Egyptian funerary practices.
Provenance: Ex-Hagar Collection, Ex-private North Carolina collection acquired in the 1980's
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