About this object

A group comprising two ‘stick ‘shabtis, a coffin with its lid and pieces of linen. The wrapped shabti is difficult to assess because it is only partially exposed. The head ‘feels’ as though it is similar in shape to the unwrapped figure that accompanies the group with its deep, square cuts creating a brow line either side of a broad nose. The shabti still retains its linen wrapping that is tied above the feet, these being modelled as a square projection. Without disturbing the wrappings it is not possible to get a full reading of the name of the owner, so it has not been attempted. However, sometime before it came into the museum in 1971 the wrappings had been torn open to reveal the name of the owner. The unwrapped shabti has a column of hieratic inscription added in black on the front naming the owner as Ta–nefer(t). In profile the body of the shabti is shaped with a slightly swelling chest, tapering towards the ankles and feet that protrude as a block. The top of the foot block has outward sloping sides when viewed from the front. The coffin has a coarsely hollowed out base, and a vaulted lid with upright ends (the underside of which is stained with mud in places). A column of hieratic inscription is added in black extending along the length of the top of the lid. It is an offering formula (Htp-di nsw n kA n…) but the name of the owner is rather faded for it to be read with certainty. The name could perhaps be an incomplete writing of Sa–pa–ir. Percy Newberry described both shabtis as being ‘wrapped in linen’ and read the name on coffin lid as ‘Beby’ (1922: 71).

A fragment of the linen was taken for radio carbon dating as part of Oxford University's Egyptian Historical Chronologies Project in 2008. When calibrated, using the Oxcal computer program (v3.10) of C. Bronk Ramsey, using the new 'INTCAL04' dataset (Radiocarbon 46 (3), 2004), the age range was 1575 – 1433 BC (95.4% probability). Glenn Janes believes the shabtis and coffin may not have originally belonged together and that they are probably from the 1898–1899 excavations at Dra Abu el–Naga that were funded by the 5th Marquess of Northhampton, and led by Professor Percy Newberry. In error they have previously been published as coming from Professor John Garstang's excavations at Esna.

One the side of the coffin trough is stuck a little rectangular label with 777 in red ink (MacGregor's collection number); and a round label with the auction number 571/6 in ink. The same is stuck to the back of the unwrapped shabti and the wrapped shabti has this number written on a tag tied to it.

Dimensions of wrapped shabti: Height 127mm; Width 21 mm; Depth 27mm.
Dimensions of unwrapped shabti: Height 130mm; Width 21 mm; Depth 24mm
Dimensions of coffin lid: Length 226mm; Width 82mm; Height 39mm
Dimensions of coffin trough: Length 240mm; Width 80mm; Height 55mm

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Second Intermediate Period
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Thebes: Dra' Abu el Naga
  • Date made
    1580 BC - 1550 BC (Dynasty 17)
  • Materials
    Pigment; Wood; Textile
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, Ancient Egypt Gallery
  • Acquisition
    Gift of the Trustees of the Wellcome Collection
  • Collector
    William MacGregor
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Thebes: Dra' Abu el Naga
  • Date collected
    1922 before
  • Measurements
    98 mm x 87 mm x 235 mm base: 60 mm x 87 mm x 235 mm
  • Note
    Name inscribed on the unwrapped shabti: TA-nfr(.t), Taneferet. Tranliteration and translation of the inscription on the coffin lid: Htp-di-nsw n kA n [sA-pA-ir?], "An offering which the king gives for the ka of [Sa–pa–ir?]"
  • Related people
    William MacGregor ( Collector, previous owner); Wellcome Historical Medical Museum ( Previous owner); Henry Solomon Wellcome ( Previous owner)
  • Related documents/media

Explore related


  • Catalogue of the MacGregor Collection of Egyptian Antiquities (Sotheby's 26 June - 6 July 1922)

    Newberry, Percy

    Author: Newberry, Percy
    Publisher: Sotheby's
    Date: 1922
    Description: Professor Percy Newberry was very familiar with MacGregor's collection and produced the text for Sotheby's catalogue. There is useful detail, such as where the objects were collected and some photographs.

  • Gifts of The Nile: Ancient Egyptian Arts and Crafts in Liverpool Museum

    Bienkowski, Piotr; Tooley, Angela

    Author: Bienkowski, Piotr; Tooley, Angela
    Publisher: Her Majesty's Stationery Office
    Date: 1995
    Description: A 130 page illustrated book that focuses on the Egyptian antiquities in World Museum's collections to provide a colourful introduction to the land and its culture in the Pharaonic period. An appendix explains the history of the collection and includes information about the Lady Lever Art Gallery Egyptian collection, which is also part of National Museums Liverpool.

  • Mere Scraps of Rough Wood? 17th-18th Dynasty Stick Shabtis in the Petrie Museum and other Collections

    Whelan, Paul

    Author: Whelan, Paul
    Publisher: Golden House Publications
    Date: 2007
    Description: Golden House Publications Egyptology 6.

  • Radiocarbon and the Chronologies of Ancient Egypt

    Bronk Ramsey, C; Shortland, A J (eds)

    Author: Bronk Ramsey, C; Shortland, A J (eds)
    Publisher: Oxbow Books
    Date: 2013
    Description: Publication associated with Oxford University's Egyptian Historical Chronologies Project.

  • The Shabti Collections volume 6: a Selection from World Museum, Liverpool

    Janes, Glenn

    Author: Janes, Glenn
    Publisher: Olicar House Publications
    Date: 2016
    Description: Lavishly illustrated catalogue of inscribed and excavated shabtis from the collection of World Museum, Liverpool, with a six page foreword by the curator, Ashley Cooke, describing the history of the collection . For more details visit the publisher's website: http://www.shabtis.com/liverpoolcatalogue.php


  • Sotheby's Auction House Sale of the MacGregor Collection 26 June - 6 July 1922

    Start date: 1922-06-26
    End date: 1922-06-26
    Description: Sale of Revd. William MacGregor's collection of Egyptian antiquities.


Previous owners

Object view = Humanities
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