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BASALT FIGURE; HANDS CROSSED AT CHEST FACE BROKEN MOUNTED ON PLASTIC STAND. PROVENIENCE UNDOCUMENTED. IDENTIFICATION PROVIDED BY HMSG.
Shabti-like statuette, carved black stone (basalt or granite). Base broken; original length would probably have been 1 1/2 - 2 inches longer. Hole in the bottom for the mounting pin is modern. Multi-purpose funerary statue. Per Johns Hopkins University Egyptologist Betsy Bryan this is probably an early shabti from the Middle Kingdom. Use of shabtis in tombs started in early Middle Kingdom, and there weren't yet established canons for appearance or number. The hands are in a gesture of humility or respect for the gods, typical for this period, also style of hair and large ears point to Middle Kingdom, probably 12th or 13th dynasty. May have had multiple functions, both as a shabti servant, and as a kind of representation of the deceased (like a ka statue). The relatively large ears are thought by some experts to be indicating the capacity to hear prayers, that the deceased's ears are open to the prayers of his survivors and descendants, and will be transmitted to the gods. This may have been the predecessor of later New Kingdom stellae which were covered with ears, used as symbols for "the god who hears prayers" (could be various gods so designated). The size of the ears seems intentional, and given the skill of the Egyptian stone carvers and craftsmen, doesn't seem explainable as due to a poor sense of anatomical proportion, or difficulty working with stone.
Dr. Ray Johson, Egyptologist, University of Chicago, 9/28/2006, has never seen any similar this early in development.
26 Jun 2017
- Chicago citation style
- Basalt Ushabti. 1992-Aug-28. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America, http://collections.si.edu/search/results.htm?q=record_ID%3Anmnhanthropology_8503982&repo=DPLA. (Accessed May 21, 2019.)
- APA citation style
- (1992-Aug-28) Basalt Ushabti. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America, http://collections.si.edu/search/results.htm?q=record_ID%3Anmnhanthropology_8503982&repo=DPLA
- MLA citation style
- Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America <http://collections.si.edu/search/results.htm?q=record_ID%3Anmnhanthropology_8503982&repo=DPLA>.