Shabti Coffin and Two Stick Shabtis



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). 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?]" 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. Purchased at Sotheby's, London, 26 June - 6 July 1922 (MacGregor Collection) Lot 571. One the side of the coffin box 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 box: Length 240mm; Width 80mm; Height 55mm