« PreviousContinue »
a portrait, but the beard is unusually long. The hands rest upon the breast, and one grasps a hoe,, and the other the string of a bag or basket, which hangs behind the shoulders. The text reads: 1.
A A 13m. The variants are of interest, and not
the least remarkable are the last two words, "I am thou," in which the figure makes itself identical with the deceased.
Under the XVIIIth and XIXth dynasties the Ushabtiu figures that were buried with persons of importance were made chiefly of stone-white, grey, green or black-and when limestone was used the inscriptions were usually coloured red or blue. But a large number of Ushabtiu were made of wood and Egyptian porcelain, or faïence— green, or brown, or red-and a few of bronze (e.g., B.M. 32692, which bears the name of the royal scribe Ani,
4). The position of
the hands varies, and sometimes the figure is represented as wearing the costume of everyday life. A very interesting variety of figure is offered by the small class in which the face and hands are coloured red and the inscriptions are written in brown paint upon a white or yellowish-white background. A good example is B.M. 53974. The deceased Tcheḥuti-mes,, wears a heavy wig which falls back, showing the ears, and on his breast hangs a heart amulet, ✪, and he holds a hoe,, in each hand. Behind his right shoulder hangs the basket (?) and behind his left is a circle O. In B.M. 30004 there is a sort of counterpoise, , on each side of the basket (?). Ushabtiu made of wood for women sometimes wear gilded pectorals and bracelets (B.M. 22743), and figures of stone
also were sometimes gilded in parts. Thus B.M. 24390 has a gilded face, and there are traces of gold on the main swathings; it was
made for Auà, 14. a libationer of Amen,
and it is interesting to note that the inscription begins with the
words Nesu ta hetep, Already in the Old Kingdom the Shabti was sometimes inscribed with a prayer for sepulchral offerings1 instead of Chapter VI of the Book of the Dead, but it is possible that such figures were votive offerings made by kinsfolk or friends of the deceased. The priests, or those who supplied Ushabtiu figures, kept a number in stock with spaces left blank in the text for the addition of the name of the purchaser; compare B.M. 36434. Under the Priest-kings of the XXIst dynasty the makers of Ushabtiu succeeded in covering their figures with a most beautiful blue glaze; some of the finest examples of these bear the names of Princess Nesi-Khensu, Queen Henttaui, Queen Maätkarā, Panetchem and Pankhi. The last two were priests of Amen-Ra, king of the gods of Thebes. Under the XXVIth dynasty Ushabtiu hold the hoe and basket and mattock (?) in their hands, which rest on the breast, and stand on a square pedestal and have a rectangular plinth down the back; many of them were cast in moulds, and are easily recognized by their light bluish-green colour. The Ushabtiu of the Ptolemaïc and Roman Periods are coarse and badly made, and the inscriptions are garbled, or are wholly wanting.
USHABTIU IN SMALL SARCOPHAGI AND COFFINS IN most of the great collections of Egyptian antiquities there are seen a number of wooden Ushabtiu lying in models of sarcophagi or coffins; sometimes both figure and coffin bear inscriptions, and sometimes the coffin alone is inscribed. In some cases the figure is swathed in linen, like a mummy, and in others it is bare and lies upon pads or wads of linen. The earliest examples belong to the XIIth dynasty, and the latest to the XXth or XXIst. Among the examples in the British Museum the following are of special interest. The wooden model coffin B.M. 16007 contains two wooden Ushabtiu wrapped in a strip of linen on which is inscribed the name "Tcheḥuti-mes,"
(Thothmes). On each figure is written
a copy of the version of the VIth Chapter of the Book of the Dead which probably dates from the XIIth dynasty, and it is quite clear that the two figures were expected to dig the furrows, irrigate the fields and carry sand for the deceased if called upon. But on
E.g., B.M. 32556,- |} ; • Z ? »
the cover of the coffin, written in very cursive characters, is an inscription, beginning with the words in which Osiris
is entreated to give to the Ka of the deceased Thothmes "sepulchral meals, and every good and pure thing whereon the gods live,"
“Behold, it is his sister Antef who makes his name to live.”
On the model wooden sarcophagus B.M. 21707 there is written in cursive characters a copy of the version of the VIth Chapter that was current early in the XVIIIth dynasty, and at the end of it is
the statement, “Behold, it is his brother Tetåres (?) 11, 函
who makes his name to live." And the little wooden figure B.M. 15765 was made and dedicated to Apu - sa - Khensu, , by his brother Apu-Nefer,
There is no reason to doubt the view expressed by Birch so far back as 1864,1 that the Shabti does represent the deceased, and that the figure was supposed, under the influence of the heka, or word of power, to perform for him in the Other World whatever work had to be done there, and, in fact, to serve as his personal servant. But when the lady Antef dedicated two figures of her brother Thothmes, it is clear that she intended each of them to benefit her brother in some way, and to do work for him; or perhaps she meant one to work for Thothmes and one for his Ka. And when over 700 Ushabtiu were buried with Seti I it is perfectly certain that the current opinion of the day was that every one of them would do work for the king in the Other World and form a member of his personal retinue. But the existence of the models described above may be explained in another way. Thothmes, the brother of the lady Antef, may have been drowned, or his body may have been devoured by wild beasts, and so there was nothing of him to bury. She therefore had the model sarcophagus and the figures made, and inscribed, and buried, trusting that the words of power would be as efficacious as if the body of her brother had been there. I am informed that in the Semliki Valley and other parts of Africa, when a body has been wholly destroyed and there is nothing to bury, the kinsfolk take a piece of wood and lay it on a mud bier, and heap earth over it, and perform over it the funeral ceremonies that are usually performed over a grave with a dead body in it.
1 Aeg. Zeit., Bd. II, p. 89. 2 See Borchardt,
"" Die Dienerstatuen (in Aeg. Zeit., Bd. XXXV, 1897,