A wooden mummiform shabti with tripartite wig and broad wesekh collar dating to the New Kingdom. It has a black and yellow colour coating. The remaining paint on this shabti is a black shiny substance with the details picked out in yellow. Black and yellow colours were also commonly used for coffins of the New Kingdom. The black colour is a type of resin. See Serpico (2000, 459-460) for more information on the coating. The black colour was associated with Osiris. Like other New Kingdom shabtis, this one tends to be quite large. In the past this shabti has been said to have been inscribed with the title 'Chantress of Amun', however the inscription is largely unreadable. By the New Kingdom this title, after that of 'Mistress of the House' was the most common title for elite women. Such women were lay priests attached to temples (see Onstine 2005 for more information). Shabtis acted as a substitute for the deceased in the afterlife and most are found in tombs. However, the fact that several are also found in temples suggests that they also acted as substitutes for the deceased in life. This item was purchased by Wellcome at auction in 1933.
Onstine, S.L., 2005. The Role of the Chantress (Smayt) in Ancient Egypt. Serpico, M., 2000. Resins, amber and bitumen in Nicholson, P.T. and Shaw, I., Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, 430-474. Schneider, H.D., 1977. Shabtis. An Introduction To The History Of Ancient Egyptian Funerary Statuettes With A Catalogue Of The Shabtis In The National Museum Of Antiquities at Leiden. Stewart, H.M., 1995. Egyptian Shabtis.
- Wellcome Number
- Other Identity
- Auction Details
- A curious faience figure of a deformed child and twelve other ancient Egyptian pieces.
- Previous Owner
- Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936)
- Last modified: 09 Dec 2021