Shabti here! Get your shabti here!

A grave good introduced in the Middle Kingdom was the shabti statues (also called ushebtis or shawabtis).  Some of the earliest examples have been found dating to the era of Mentuhotep II.  These statutes were made from various materials such as wax, clay, pottery, faience, wood or stone and are believed to have been used for “magical substitutes when work had to be done by the tomb-owner for Osiris.”  Often taking the naked form of the adult male or female form, many were inscribed with special formulas or spells.[1]

The large numbers of shabtis found make it a one of the numerous artifacts from Ancient Egypt to survive.

BM_shabti

Shabti Collection at the British Museum


[1] Gae Callender, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, ed. Ian Shaw (London, England: Oxford University Press, 2000). 170

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