About this object

Mummiform shabti wearing a tripartite wig with striations added in black. The arms are crossed right over left on the chest, and the hands hold a pair of small hoes added in black. A square–hatched rectangular basket is painted on the back. The face is rudimentarily defined, and has large eyes with brows in black. A wesekh collar is worn around the neck. The body of the shabti has five horizontal bands of fairly crudely written inscription naming the owner as Nesy–Khonsu, followed by a version of Chapter 6 of the Book of the Dead (Spell for making shabtis do work in the afterlife).

Nesy–Khonsu was a daughter of Smendes II, and also niece of Pinudjem II, both of whom were successive High–Priest’s of Amen at Thebes who ruled that part of Egypt during the 21st Dynasty. Nesy–Khonsu was perhaps a favoured member of the harem of Pinudjem II as she became his first wife. She bore him four children, before her death in Year 5 of the reign of Tanite king Si–Amun. Nesy–Khonsu was buried in the tomb known as the Royal Cache (DB 320) at Thebes, Deir el–Bahari. A lady of considerable importance, Nesy–Khonsu was Supreme Chief of the Harem of Amun, a title given on the present shabti. On a wooden stela also found in the Royal Cache she was also a Priestess of Khnum, Superintendent of the Southern Lands, and Vicereine of Nubia.

The text is in five horizontal bands around the lower part of the body, within borders. It translates as: The Osiris, the Supreme Chief of the Harem of Amun, Nesy–Khonsu, justified, she speaks: O, these shabtis, if one counts, if one reckons Nesy–Khonsu to do the works that are to be done there in the realm of the dead – to irrigate the river banks, to cultivate the fields, to ferry the sand of the west to the east, {to ferry sand of the west to the east:} ‘here I am,’ when you call your female servant.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Religion
  • Culture
    Third Intermediate Period
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Thebes: Deir el Bahri
  • Date made
    1069 BC - 945 BC (Dynasty 21)
  • Materials
    Egyptian Faience
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Purchased from the collections of Norwich Castle Museum, 1956
  • Collector
    William Birkbeck
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Thebes: Deir el Bahri
  • Date collected
    1870 about
  • Measurements
    182 mm x 58 mm x 38 mm
  • Note
    Collected by Mr Willaim Birkbeck in Egypt in 1870.

    Transliteration and translation of the inscription: sHD Wsir Hr.y(t) wr(.t) Xnr.t tp(.yt) n Imn Nsy-xns.w mAa.t-xrw Dd.s i SAb.ty ipn.tw ip.tw ir Hsb.tw Nsy-xns.w r ir.t kA.t ir.t im m Xr.t-nTr r smH.yt wDb.w r srwD sx.t r Xn.t Say m imn.tt r iAb.tt {r Xn.t Say m imn.tt iAb.tt} m.k (wi) kA r bA.t, "The Osiris, the Supreme Chief of the Harem of Amun, Nesy–Khonsu, justified, she speaks: O, these shabtis, if one counts, if one reckons Nesy–Khonsu to do the works that are to be done there in the realm of the dead – to irrigate the river banks, to cultivate the fields, to ferry the sand of the west to the east, {to ferry sand of the west to the east:} ‘here I am,’ when you call your female servant."
  • Related people
    Susan Birkbeck (Collector, previous owner); William Birkbeck (Collector, previous owner); Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery (Previous owner)

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Publications

  • 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

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

    Owned from: 1914
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1956
    Disposal method: Sold
  • Susan Birkbeck

    Owned from: 1897
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1914
    Disposal method: Donation
  • William Birkbeck

    Owned from: 1870
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1897
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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