Shabti

56.22.174
The upper part of a limestone shabti wearing a broad and very voluminous bag wig that has traces of purplish–black paint, especially on the back. The rear of the wig has a roughly square element falling onto the upper body at the back. Although the arms themselves are mostly missing, except for the upper parts, it is obvious that they are crossed on the chest because the hands are shown in the modelling. The right hand clearly holds a hes–vase (a tall vessel with a thin neck and a projecting rim, that was used in temple rituals). As a hieroglyph it means ‘favour’ or ‘praise.’ The object carried in the left hand is a little problematic. It could be an ankh, symbol of ‘life,’ but this should have a cross–member above the thumb. If an ankh is intended, then the cross–member element was very carelessly omitted by the sculptor. Or perhaps it could be a twist of cloth as opposed to the more usual fold of cloth. A twist of cloth would produce a loop at the top which could be represented in the modelling on the statuette. The hands and attributes are not positioned centrally, but offset to the left. The hands have traces of red paint. The face is somewhat damaged, the nose and mouth being badly worn. The head has small, and rather protruding ears. The face was originally painted red. Excavated by Henri Frankfort, 1925–26. Purchased from the collections of Norwich Castle Museum, 1956 – given to Norwich by the EES via the East Anglia Egyptian Society that subscribed to the 1925–1926 excavations at Abydos.