A wonderful shabti with a lovely bright blue colour, in the somewhat crude style that is so typical for the Third Intermediate Period, particularly the 21st dynasty (circa 1069-945 B.C.). The shabti comes from the so-called Second Cachette in Deir el-Bahari.
The owner of the shabti, a woman, is depicted mummiform, wearing a tripartite wig, leaving the ears visible. The arms are folded over the chest, the left arm over the right one. The shabti is holding agricultural implements in its hands, in this case two hoes, and has a seed basket hanging on its back. All details were added in black: eyes, wig, implements, seed basket. The same applies to the vertical band of text on the legs.
This text indicates the name of the person for whom the shabti was made: The Osiris Ta-hen(et)-en-neb-khemenu, justified. Her name means "She whom the Lord of Khemenu protects". Khemenu, or Khmun, was a city in Middle Egypt, which was called Hermopolis Magna in Greek times, Shmounein in Coptic and Ashmunein in Arabic. The ancient Egyptian name for the city means "Eight-town" referring to the eight deities (the Ogdoad) who represented the primeval elements and who created the world, according to the local tradition. The Lord of Khemenu was Thoth, the god of wisdom, whose main cult centre was in this area; he was later associated with the Greek Hermes, hence the Greek name for the city.
For the name Ta-hen(et)-neb-khemenu, which is a grammatical parallel to Ta-hen(et)-en-neb-khemenu, see Hermann Ranke, Die ägyptischen Personennamen (3 volumes, Glückstadt - Hamburg, 1935-1976), I, p. 365, no. 24. See also the name Ta-hen(et)-Djehuty, "She whom Thoth protects" (ibid., I. p. 365, no. 25), which expresses the same religious beliefs.
Georges Daressy, "Les cercueils des prêtres d'Ammon (deuxième trouvaille de Deir el-Bahari)", Annales du service des antiquités de l'Égypte 8 (1907), p. 3-38, esp. p. 17.
21st dynasty, circa 1069-945 B.C.
Height 11.5 cm.
Collection of Joseph Klein, New York, formed between 1941 and 1980.
Intact; a minuscule hole, probably an air bubble hole created during firing of the shabti, in the right lappet of the wig; some minor surface wear and encrustation, as shown. All in all in excellent condition.