Apis bull shabtisBull-headed shabtis for an Apis bull from Serapeum at Saqqara. The statuettes were found near the Apis sarcophagi and may be characterised as donations. During the 20th Dynasty, the shabtis are either human-headed or bull-headed. In the Third Intermediate Period they are in human form. In the Late Period they are human-headed with Osirian beard and mounted on a plinth like their human counterparts, but the hands are not shown and the text is simply ‘an offering which the King gives’ (see Shabtis I, Hans D. Schneider, pg. 288).
Baboon-headed shabtisIntriguing shabtis with well-detailed baboon heads. Christies writes “… a single column of finely carved hieroglyphs along the front, reading: “Instructions of the Osiris Hapy, Overseer of the Cattle of Amun, Djehutymose (Thutmose), Justified,” another on the back, reading: “May your face be revealed (or your sight be opened) that you may behold Re, King’s Scribe and Overseer of the Cattle of Amun, Djehutymose, Justified”. For full documentation with photos of the sides of this series, also known as Thutmose, see Uschebti – Arbeiter im Ägyptischen Totenreich 1993, Schlögl, Hermann A. – Christa Meves-Schlögl, pg. 14-17.
Headless shabtisShabti in the form of the headless Osiris made in three pieces, the torso and feet fitting with pegs into the holes in the middle piece (see Shabtis II, Hans D. Schneider, pg 94). The owner of this shabti identifies himself with Osiris, whose body is magically recovered after his brother Seth has dismembered it.
Listening shabtisThese strange shabtis seem to hold their left hand behind the ear, as if to boost their hearing (see Hermann A. Schlögl / Andreas Brodbeck, Ägyptische Totenfiguren aus öffentlichen und privaten Sammlungen der Schweiz, pg. 45.). Only known from this series and period.
Double shabtisBoth shabtis are carved from a single piece of stone and are standing together on a pedestal, resting against a plateau. The shabtis depict a man and a woman. They can be husband and wife, but also son and mother.
Shabtis on a bierIn the Louvre specimen (see photo) the man and the woman are lying side by side on a bier. The specimen to the right depicts a single person. A Ba-bird is sitting next to the mummy, protecting it by putting an arm with extended hand on it. A small figure stands by the foot, watching the mummy/mummies. On the Louvre specimen to the right, a Nephtis crown is visible (behind the head), possibly placed on a small figure, so there is a possibility that the figure by the foot depicts Isis even though she is not wearing a crown. There is no writing on the statuettes. The Leiden collection includes a red brick specimen. The bier has legs in the form of lion legs. A small female figure is standing by the foot, arms upraised and hands placed on the foot of the bier. She is wearing a long wig and a long, finely detailed garment (see Shabtis II, Hans D. Schneider, pg. 91).
Shabtis grinding grainTaking these special shabtis with them was probably a privilege of the highest class serving under the king, most likely Amenhotep III. The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities) in Leiden, the Netherlands, has three special specimens of ‘the guardian of the treasury’ Mery-Mery. Two of them are male, one is female. The Brooklyn specimen also seems female to me. The Brooklyn Museum website notes: ‘The royal scribe Senenu appears here bent over a large grinding stone. This unusual sculpture seems to be an elaborate version of a shabti, a funerary figurine placed in the tomb to work in place of the deceased in the hereafter. The hieroglyphic text included Senenu’s claim to a blessed afterlife by virtue of his proper behaviour toward the king and gods.’
Shabtis with a basket on their head
Ushebti of a woman carrying a basket on her head. Only known from the Napatan region (Sudan) and this period.
Pottery, 6.3 cm
25th Dynasty, ca. 680 BC
German private collection
See also: Simone Musso & Simone Petacchi Kushite, Shabtis with basket on the head: an innovation from the royal burials of Kush
Photo: Julian Fass
Amulet shabtisLittle is known about these small shabti amulets. They are drilled through vertically and are probably part of the clothing, the mummy, and/or a net or a chain.
Glass shabtisShabtis made of glass are extremely rare. A few other glass shabtis are to be found in Cairo and London
Bronze shabtisOnly for a few persons bronze shabtis are known. In the 18th dynasty for some private persons, in the 19th a hollow casted one for Ramses II, in the 20th dynasty five solid cast shabtis for Ramses III and in the 21st dynasty series small ones for pharaoh Psusennes I, his wife Mutnodjmet and his General Undjebauendjed
Extremely rare in bronze, 8,3 cm
21st Dynasty, 950 BC
Photo: The Collector’s Eye: Masterpieces of Egyptian Art from the Thalassic Collection, Ltd. ISBN-10: 192891702X pg. 127