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Egyptian Faience Shabti for Khaemwaset, New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty, Reign of Ramesses II, 1279 - 1213 BC

Conservation:  Good state of preservation, restoration on the neck.
Material:  Faience
Dimensions:  15, 5 cm
Provenance:  Private collection A. Alonso, Salamanca. Formed between 1960 and 1980 / J. Bagot Archeological Gallery, Spain, 2015
Exhibited:  Ifergan Collection, Málaga (2018-2020)


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This khaemwaset ushebti is represented as a worker, since he wields two hoes to work in the fields of Osiris of the Beyond. He is wearing a short wig from which a braid protrudes on the right side. He wears a curly Osirian beard, ending in a tight forward curve. From his mummiform shroud that covers the whole body, only the hands protrude, crossed on the chest, holding the aforementioned agricultural tools.

On the body there is a vertical register of hieroglyphic writing. This horizontal inscription translates: “May the Osiris, Son of King,(priest) Shem, Khaemwaset, righteous of voice, be enlightened”.

Khaemwaset was a prince of Egypt. Fourth son of Pharaoh Ramses II and the second son of his second Great Royal Wife, Queen Isis-Nefert. He is the best known of Ramses’ sons, as his contributions to Egyptian society were remembered for centuries. He has been described as the first Egyptologist due to his work in the identification and restoration of historic buildings, tombs and temples. He was high priest of Ptah and, at the end of his life, governor of Memphis and crown prince. He died at the age of 56, in the 55th year of his father’s reign. His tomb is probably in Saqqara, where some remains were found that may belong to it.

But he is really known for his priestly functions and restoration of temples and sanctuaries. He became priest of Ptah in Memphis, being the High Priest Huy. During his time as a priest he participated in various rituals, such as the burial of the Apis bulls in the Serapeum of Saqqara.
He remodeled the Serapeum, building a subway gallery with several burial chambers that allowed the burial of several Apis bulls. When he was high priest, he expanded the temple of Ptah at Memphis, as attested by several inscriptions.

Khaemwaset restored the monuments of previous kings and nobles, not in vain the High Priest of Ptah was the Master of Artisans. Texts with restoration data have been found in the pyramid of Unis at Saqqara, the mastaba of Shepseskaf, the solar temple of Nyuserra, the pyramid of Sahura, the step pyramid of Zoser, and the pyramid of Userkaf. He also restored a statue of Prince Kauab, son of Jufu, and inscribed on the throne of the statue his name and the work done.

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