An Egyptian Faience Shabti for Nesbanebdjed, 30th Dynasty, ca. 380 - 343 BCE
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Mummiform, fine quality, faience with light blue glaze. Details in relief, with a tripartite wig, plaited divine beard, facial details in quality relief, hands crossed over chest carrying a pic and hoe, seed bag on cord suspended over left shoulder, with dorsal pillar and trapezoidal base, “T” shaped hieroglyphic inscription naming the owner as Nesbanebdjed. Titles include: Chamberlain, Prophet of the two Gods, Prophet of Osiris, Superior of the Priests of Sekhmet and the ram of Mendes.
Nesbanebdjed is given a number of priestly titles on this ushabti. These are all associated with the deities particular to Medes and in particular the sacred ram Ba-neb-djedet from which the name of the owner of this ushabti is derived. Ba-neb-djedet was the husband of an earlier chief deity at Medes, the goddess Hat-mehit. Their son, Harpocrates completed the Mendesian triad. Mendes is considered to be the capital of Egypt during the 29th dynasty.
(1) “The illuminated one, the Osiris, the ‘imy-khenty Priest’, the ‘One who separates the Two Gods’, the ’Priest of the Osiris in Anpet’, the ‘Scribe of the Divine (?)’, (2) the ‘Overseer of the wab-Priests of Sekhmet in Hat-mehyt (Mendes)’, the ‘Priest of Ba-neb-djed’, Nes-ba- neb-djed, born to Shentyt, ??? justified” [Janes translation of T shabti for Nes-ba-neb-djed].
The tomb of Nesbanebdjed was found in 1902 in Tell el-Ruba in the Eastern Delta, the ancient city of Mendes, see M.J.E. Quibell, "Note on a Tomb found at Tell er Robâ," Annales du Service des Antiquités de l'Égypte, vol. 3, 1902, pp. 245-249. Of the 360 ushabti found, 322 bore the T-shaped inscription. A similar shabti is in the British Museum (accession no. 1919,1008.1), and one from the Brugsch collection was published in G. Janes, Shabtis: A Private View, Paris, 2002, p. 189, no. 96. For the asymmetry of the eyes cf. J.-F. and L. Aubert, Statuettes égyptiennes, Paris, 1974, pp. 255-6, pl. 155-6. For another example see J. F. Aubert and L. Aubert, Statuettes égyptiennes, Chaouabtis, Ouchebtis, Paris, 1974, pl. 66, Reflets du divin: Antiquités pharaoniques et classiques d'une collection privée, Geneva, 2001, no. 73c.
For related examples see:
G. Janes, Shabtis A Private View (Paris, 2002), p. 189-191 no. 96.
Jacques F. Aubert – Liliane Aubert, Statuettes égyptiennes, Chaouabtis, ouchebtis (Paris, 1974) p. 297 fig. 155.
Hans D. Schneider, Shabtis. An Introduction to the History of Ancient Egyptian Funerary Statuettes with a Catalogue of the Collection of Shabtis in the National Museum of Antiquities at Leiden (Collections of the National Museum of Antiquities at Leiden, 2) (Leiden, 1977), pp. 184 – 185 no. 188.8.131.52.
J-L Chappaz, Les figurines funéraires égyptiennes du Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, (Geneva 1984), p. 88 no. 73c.
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall
Dimensions: Height: 6 3/8 inches (16.2 cm)
Provenance: Tomb discovered in Tell el Rub’a in 1902, site of the ancient city of Mendes, Private French collection, thereafter private Virginia collection acquired at PBA Auction, Paris, 1 Jun 2012, Lot 85.
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