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Lot 78, Auction 5/30/2017: Trio of Egyptian Faience Ushabtis

$311.25
Egypt, Late Dynastic period, ca. 712 to 332 BCE. A group of three ushabtis (shabtis), all shaped like adult male or female mummies wearing traditional ancient Egyptian headdresses and holding agricultural tools. The faience on these figures is for the most part a dark green-brown, with some splashes of blue. Blue faience was thought to symbolize rebirth promised by the Nile. Size of largest (they are all very similar in size): 1.05" W x 4.45" H (2.7 cm x 11.3 cm)

The ancient Egyptians believed that after they died, their spirits would have to work in the "Field of Reeds" owned by the god of the underworld, Osiris. This meant doing agricultural labor -- and it was required by all members of society, from workers to pharaohs. Towards the end of the Pharaonic period, they had become so necessary and elaborate that some tombs contained one worker for every day of the year and thirty-six overseers, each responsible for ten laborers. Workers like these are from that period of enormous proliferation, and are some of our best surviving insights into ancient Egyptian funerary practices.

Condition: Loss to one hand on one ushabti; loss to the front of the base on another.

Provenance: Ex-Hagar Collection

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