Egyptian Faience ushabti of Tius, Saite Period, 26th Dynasty, 664-525 BC

The ushabtis are small mummified figures representing the deceased himself, whose name means "those who respond" since they would perform those jobs that were ordered by their lord in the afterlife The ushabtis arise in the Middle Empire, at the beginning they were made in persea wood.  Its rapid popularization caused that they began to be made in series, by means of other simpler and less manual techniques that allowed to cover the demand. In some tombs you could find up to 365 for the day and 365 for the night, so that their lord, the deceased, would not lack help for all eternity. These ushabtis could be arranged in boxes or even one representing them all. These boxes became very common as they reinforced the magical power of the servants. The ancient Egyptians believed in the magic of sculptures and words, that is why for them these magic figures would accompany them to their eternal life and once there they would come alive and serve them faithfully. This ushabti belongs to a man called Tius who carries his farming implements and a basket on his shoulder, and the detail of his wig and beard makes his face tender and warm. The fineness of the modeling, as well as the inscriptions arranged around the figure, which stand out beautifully over the curious whitish faience, make this figure a unique item of ancient Egypt.


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