Search the Collections
Gift of Adolph B. Spreckels, Jr.
M.H. de Young-Art of the Americas: Art and Ethnography -3/28/98-7/5/98
Egyptians loved life and outfitted their tombs with reliefs and objects that celebrate it. They also included anything that might lead to an enjoyable existence after death. In order for the deceased to attain the pleasures of a happy afterlife, miniature servant figures, known as shabtis, were included in tombs to perform any hard manual labor that the deceased might be called upon to do. This shabti belongs to Sennedjem, owner of Theban tomb No. 1 at Deir el-Medina on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes). He lived during the reign of Ramesses II (1279–1213 BC) and his well-known family tomb was found with its decoration and contents intact. In this brightly colored limestone example, the shabti is posed as a wrapped mummy with his arms crossed and is holding two hand hoes, which reflect the Egyptian belief that agricultural work would be required in the next world. The column of inscription runing down the front identifies Sennedjem and offers the figure's title, "Servant in the Place of Truth."