Egyptian faience “Khaemwaset” Ushabti, New Kingdom, 1550-1069 B.C.

Prince Khaemweset was the fourth son of Ramesses II, and the second son by his queen Isetnofret. He is by far the best known son of the king, and his contributions to Egyptian society were remembered for centuries after his death. Khaemwaset has been described as "the first Egyptologist" due to his efforts in identifying and restoring historic buildings, tombs and temples. The text of ushabti says: “The illuminated, sem priest, royal son Khaemwaset, true of voice”. 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 magical figures would accompany them to their eternal life and once there they would come alive and serve them faithfully.


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