Shabti of Ra–messu–[hesy] card

Courtesy of National Museums Liverpool, World Museum

Shabti of Ra–messu–[hesy]


On display


Mummiform shabti wearing a tripartite wig with striations added in the carving except for the lower ends of the lappets that are left plain. The arms are crossed, and the hands emerge from the shroud to hold a pair of hoes added in relief. A basket is carried behind the left shoulder. The face is very well defined. It is round in shape, and has full cheeks. The nose is a little abraded. The eyes have short cosmetic lines in shallow relief, and the eyes lids are quite fleshy. The ears are well defined. A wesekh–collar is worn across the chest comprising three rows of beads on strands. A vertical column of fairly neatly incised inscription carved in light relief, coloured in black and in between red borders, names the owner as Ra-messu–hesy. His name appears in Ranke p. 219, no. 5. Transliteration and translation of the inscription: wn Hr.k mAA.k itn dwA.k Ra anx Wsir Ra-ms-sw-Hsy mAa-xrw, "May your face be opened, that you may see the sun disk, that you may adore the sun in life, the Osiris, Ra–messu–hesy, justified". This shabti belongs to a particularly small group known for various private individuals that are inscribed with a magical text known as the Kha–em–waset or Khamaus formula. Kha–em– waset, a son of Ramesses II, was the instigator of this unusual magical inscription that is considered to have raised ‘the owner of the shabti to a higher, divine level, and to make him a citizen, as it were, of the sacred region of Ro–setau.’ Ro–setau was originally the name for the necropolis at Memphis, Saqqara and Giza, but it eventually came to specify the entrance to the underworld that could be represented by a tomb shaft or simply a natural hole in the ground. Sokar was the principal god of Ro–setau, and although Osiris, Isis and Horus were part of the domain, it was the sun god Re through whom the deceased sought eternal existence from its life giving rays.