Shabti coffin and lid of the royal fanbearer Amenmose

British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

From their earliest examples in the Middle Kingdom (about 2040-1750 BC) to later in the New Kingdom (about 1550-1070 BC), shabti figures tend to be found in very small numbers, often just one or two in each tomb. It is only in the Third Intermediate Period that they increase to 365, one for each day of the year, with 36 'overseers' (with the exception of kings who could have an even larger number). These individual shabti were often placed in boxes, and some in coffins. This example is a particularly elaborate one, being made of faience and decorated in the manner of a contemporary sarcophagus, with horizontal and vertical bands of text and small pictures of gods. The shabti itself shows the owner in his official dress, with a long bulbous robe with wide sleeves. This type of shabti is typical of the Ramesside period. Some individual shabti in everyday dress in coffins or boxes have been found outside of tombs, and may even be votive offerings rather than substitutes for the deceased.Other monuments of Amenmose indicate that he probably lived in the reign of Ramesses III (1184-1153 BC), though some scholars have argued for his dating to the reign of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC). He held a number of titles in Theban institutions.

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  • Title: Shabti coffin and lid of the royal fanbearer Amenmose
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 29.20mm (coffin); Width: 11.20cm (coffin); Height: 28.50mm (coffin lid); Depth: 12.50cm (combined); Height: 22.80cm (shabti); Width: 7.50cm (shabti); Depth: 4.50cm (Shabti)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: glazed; painted
  • Subject: ancient egyptian deity
  • Registration number: 1914,0509.21-22
  • Place: Found/Acquired Thebes
  • Period/culture: 19th Dynasty; 20th Dynasty
  • Material: glazed composition
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Mohassib, Mohammed