May 20, 2009

Shawabty of Ditamenpaankh

Shawabty of Ditamenpaankh

715–656 BC

Part of a set. See all set records


Overall: 4.1 x 1.6 x 1 cm (1 5/8 x 5/8 x 3/8 in.)

Gift of the John Huntington Art and Polytechnic Trust 1914.718.38



High demand for shawabtys in the Late Period (when as many as 400 or more shawabtys were placed in a tomb), gave rise to a specialized container for storing them. This shawabty box was probably one of a pair originally made for the lady Ditamenpaankh. The single-masted boat on the lid may refer to the pilgrimage of the deceased to the holy city of Abydos, the cult city of Osiris, king of the dead. The sides are inscribed with the traditional shawabty spell charging the funerary servants with their duties. The shawabtys inside are crude, mass-produced examples that were cast in an open mold. Made of terracotta, their blue paint imitates more costly shawabtys made of faience.

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