An extremely fine and well-preserved Egyptian turquoise glazed faience shabti, featuring a dorsal pillar to the reverse. The Shabti is shown wearing a tripartite striated wig and a plaited false beard and holding a pick, a hoe and the rope of the seed bag in his crossed hands; the seed bag falling behind the shabti’s left shoulder. Facial features are rendered in an extremely naturalistic manner, with much attention given towards the rendering of details. The body is inscribed with ten horizontal incised rows of hieroglyphs from Chapter Six of the Book of the Dead and naming the owner, the overseer of the royal fleet under the Pharaoh Amasis II, Psamtek-Mery-Ptah.
Shabti, also known as ushabtis, are the most numerous of all Egyptian antiquities and they were originally placed in an Ancient Egyptian tombs to assist the deceased in the afterlife. Shabtis were often inscribed with titles and names, sometimes including parentage of the person that made them as a part of funerary equipment. Such figurines in mummified form were also inscribed with passages from Chapter Six of Book of the Dead, the intention of which was to secure safety for the deceased in the afterlife. This inscription would have begun, ‘Sḥḏ WsỈr ḥm-nṯr prt-ḫrw….’ (‘The illuminated one, the Osiris, the god, an offering…’).
Reference: The Metropolitan Museum.
Period: Late Period, 26th Dynasty, Reign of Amasis, circa 570-526.
Provenance: From the Bonhams sale, London, 26th April 1994, lot. 227. Formerly the Gottfried and Helga Hertel collection, Cologne.