July 5, 2010

An Ancient Egyptian Shabti

In tune with Sam Merrin's recent comment in regards to Tutenkhamun's exhibition at the Met, the Merrin Gallery has acquired an ancient Egyptian piece from the 26th dynasty, dated 570-526 B.C., under the reign of Amasis II.

It is a shabti (funerary figurine) depicting the Wab priest to the King (his titles include: Royal Chancellor of Lower Egypt, Administrator of the Palace, son of Schepen-Bastet). The figure holds the traditional hoe, pick, and seed-sack.

The head, wearing a braided beard and striated tripartite wig, has a finely modeled face whose eyebrows and cosmetic lines are illustrated through relief. The faience body is embossed with eight lines of inscription.

Such shabtis of Neferibresaneith are among the most beautiful ones of the Late Period. The piece is made entirely from faience, a notable ancient Egyptian material.

The tomb of Neferibresaneith was found at Saqqara, south of the funerary complex of King Userkaf, in 1929, and was fully excavated in the late 1940s. In all, 366 shabtis were found, most of them resting on the lid of the stone sarcophagus under the carbonized wood box.

More information about the ancient Egyptian shabti of Neferibresaneith can be found at the Merrin Gallery.

Update: Another parallel acquisition of an ancient Egyptian artwork by the Merrin Gallery.

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