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Maker(s):Unknown
Culture:Egyptian
Title:Shabti of Lady Iset-em-kheb
Date Made:1293-1070 BCE (New Kingdom, Dynasties 19-20)
Type:Ceremonial
Materials:Clay, formed in mold; slip
Place Made:Africa; Egypt; Abydos (possibly)
Measurements:Overall: 4 13/16 in x 2 1/16 in x 2 1/16 in; 12.2 cm x 5.2 cm x 5.2 cm
Narrative Inscription:  On front, below hands, partly legible: "The Osiris Iset-em-kheb." "The Osiris" became a standard epithet for the deceased person, who was assimilated to the god for the afterlife.
Accession Number:  MH 1910.9.7.A.K
Credit Line:Gift of the Egypt Exploration Fund
Museum Collection:  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
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Currently on view

Description:
Mummiform figure of pinkish beige terracotta with areas decorated in red-brown, black, and yellow slip. Drooping face, with features not shaped. Strongly protruding elbows, forming triangular upper torso. Narrow, shaft-like lower body. Red-brown slip for face, hoes, hands, and outline of text column below hands. Yellow slip for background of text column. Black slip for wig, eyes and partially legible text (see Inscription field for details). Tool marks along sides where excess clay was scraped away.

Label Text:
Ancient Egyptians were obliged to perform certain tasks for the state, including agricultural labor. Small mummy-shaped figurines called “shabtis” were introduced to perform this work in the afterlife and often carried hoes or seed-baskets. Initially, the deceased was given only one shabti, but the number increased dramatically over time. From the 18th Dynasty on, shabtis sometimes appeared dressed as living people rather than as mummies. These statuettes could be made of earthenware, Egyptian faience, stone, or other materials.

2016

Tags:
ancient; archaeology; tombs; deaths; afterlife; religion; rituals; ceremonies; sculpture; agriculture

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=MH+1910.9.7.A.K

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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