Shabti in the Name of Horoudja, Son of Chedit and Servant and Prophet of Neith



Shabti in the Name of Horoudja, Son of Chedit and Servant and Prophet of Neith


Shabti, sculpture, funerary object


380-343 BC


Late Period, Dynasty 30
Egypt, Hawara


9 x 2 5/8 in. (22.9 x 6.7 cm)

Object Number



Shabtis are figures installed in tombs; generally they appear as mummiform figures with writing along their bodies, meant to alleviate the need for the tomb owner to work in the afterlife. The Egyptians conceptualized the afterlife as largely similar to the world they lived in, therefore the dead had human needs and labor was required in the afterlife to meet these needs. At the very beginning of recorded Egyptian history (just before the First Dynasty) there is evidence that this need for laborers was met, at least for the king, by the interment of servants likely killed at his time of death. After this very early period, evidence for this practice dies out and the need was evidently met with images and sculptures that served the same purpose. In the Old Kingdom and at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom, small figures of workers often placed in vignettes were installed in tombs to serve the dead. In the middle of the Middle Kingdom, a shift toward the use of shabtis occurs with models becoming less common. In the New Kingdom, shabti figures became a necessary part of a proper burial in Egypt and were sometimes deposited in the tomb in great numbers. The word "shabti" derives from the ancient Egyptian word "to answer" because these figures were made to answer for the tomb owner when they were called to work in the afterlife.
This shabti was excavated by the famous English Egyptologist William Flinders Petrie, who worked during the last part of the 19th century and first half of the 20th. Petrie excavated this shabti and 398 others from the tomb of Horoudja at Hawara. Many of Horoudja's shabtis are unusual for their incredible quality. The subtly rendered facial features and detailed rendering of hieroglyphs on these faience shabtis caused Petrie to marvel in a letter home: I found about a dozen of the very finest quality of large green ushabti of a man, Horuta [Horoudja], of exquisite work, the faces elaborated to show the dimples and muscles, and the details of the pick and the hoe and basket all standing out in high relief; the material hard pottery merging into stone ware glazed throughout; long inscriptions beautifully inscribed in the round, and some of the figures inches high and some more brilliant ones of 10 inches. They are just some of the finest class I have ever seen. (13-19 January 1889)

Credit Line

Egyptian Purchase Fund


From Pharaohs to Emperors: New Egyptian and Classical Antiquities at Emory, Michael C. Carlos Museum, January 14 - April 2, 2006|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, 2006 - Present
Peter Lacovara and Jasper Gaunt, "From Pharaohs to Emperors: Egyptian, Near Eastern & Classical Antiquities at Emory," Minerva (January/February 2006): 9-16.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2005.
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On View



“Shabti in the Name of Horoudja, Son of Chedit and Servant and Prophet of Neith,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed February 20, 2019,

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