Shabti card

Courtesy of National Museums Liverpool, World Museum


On display


Pottery mummiform shabti wearing a tripartite wig painted blue. The wig is extremely voluminous, especially in terms of its depth. Striations are perhaps added in a darker blue. The arms are not indicated in the modelling. No implements are shown. The head and face are rather small, and angled upwards. Large protruding ears, that are applied as blobs of gesso, flank the sides of the face. Sufficient paint remains to show that the eyes with brows were highlighted in black. The posterior is gently shaped. The body of the shabti has six horizontal bands of inscription, but unfortunately the name of the owner is missing due to severe abrasion of the surface. The only text that is legible is Chapter 6 of the Book of the Dead, although some parts of this are also abraded. The shabti is recorded as coming from Hu – known in the Ptolemaic Period as Diospolis Parva. It was the capital city of the 7th Upper Egyptian nome. Petrie, Randall–MacIver, and Mace excavated at the site in 1898–1899. The subsequent publication of the site only mentions one shabti, a Middle Kingdom example that is now to be found in Cambridge (FWM E.252.1899). The present shabti is not recorded in the excavation notes, but it is noted in the distribution lists of objects sent to Liverpool from Diospolis Parva, Cemetery Y, grave 163. This number is written in pencil on the rear lappet of the wig. Cemetery Y contained graves of the 6th–12th Dynasties, and Cemetery YS contained shallow surface graves of the 12th–18th Dynasties. The cemeteries were excavated by Randall–McIver and Mace. The EEF also sent a kohl pot (, a kohl stick (, and a piece of ivory ( to Liverpool from grave Y163. With the exception of the kohl stick, the kohl pot and ivory object were lost during the Second World War. Excavated in Petrie's Predynastic cemetery Y near the modern village of Hiu (How) a large cemetery excavated by Mr Mace and Mr Randall-MacIver. Mace described the burials in Petrie's 1901 'Diospolis Parva' publication but it does not mention grave number Y163 where this shabti was found.