Egyptian Faience Shabti for Ankh-Netcher-Hapy - X.0734
Origin: Egypt
Circa: 664 BC to 525 BC
Dimensions: 8.5" (21.6cm) high
Collection: Egyptian Antiquities
Style: Late Dynastic Period
Medium: Faience


The shabti is depicted in mummiform position, holding as series of tools associated with agricultural endeavours. The green colouring of the faience is unusual, as is the name of the individual and the social importance of the place to which he was seemingly attached. The specimen has been fully assessed and researched by Professor R.S Bianchi, whose assessment is presented below. Cast in desirable apple-green faience, this shabti is inscribed for Ankh-hapy, an elite official whose only titles are that of the illuminated one and the one identified with Osiris. He is depicted in the pose of a mummy, fully enveloped in a tightly fitting garment evocative of mummy bandages. He is shown standing on an integral base with his hands protruding from beneath his costume, the fisted hands of which hold a hoe and mattock. His left hand also holds the handle for a basket containing seeds for planting which is slung over his shoulder and rests on the upper left side of his back. His facial features are idealised and framed by a striated, tripartite wig which sits rather low on the forehead and leaves the ears exposed. The details of the face, which is perfectly preserved, are meticulously executed and include hieroglyphic eyes with paint stripes for eye brows. The nose is well-proportioned and sits above slightly pursed lips. His accessories include a plaited beard (the tip of which is curved) whish is positioned in such a way that the entire chin is exposed. Our shabti of Ankh-Hapy, whose name literally means, May the [god of the Niles inundation] Hapy live!, is inscribed with nine rows of neatly designed hieroglyphs which contain extracts from Spell VI of The Book of the Dead which explain the role of shabtis as surrogates for the deceased, intended to perform agricultural tasks for the interred personage in the hereafter. This inscription also includes the name of the Ankh-Hapys mother, Ta-dj-Hat-Mehyt, literally The-one-whom-the-goddess-Hat-Mehyt-has given. This name suggests that her delivery was in some way auspiciously assisted by Hat-Mehyt, a goddess whose emblem is a fish and who was the principal deity of the Delta city of Mendes(capital of Egypt during Dynasty XXIX: 399-380 B.C.). It should be noted that this particular proper name is extremely rare in ancient Egyptian sources. The position of the beard of Ankh-Hapy suggests a date no earlier than the middle of Dynasty XXVI when such a detail is first attested. In addition, the name of his mother tends to link Ankh-Hapy to the city of Mendes while it enjoyed the exalted status of a capital city. As a result, one can suggest that our shabti dates to the period between Dynasty XXVI and XXIX. - (X.0734)



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