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Shabti (Funerary Figurine) of Nebseni

A work made of wood (tamarisk) and pigment.
Public Domain

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  • A work made of wood (tamarisk) and pigment.


New Kingdom, early Dynasty 18, about 1570 BCE


Egyptian; Thebes (modern Luxor), Egypt

About this artwork

To assure themselves a comfortable afterlife, Egyptians stocked their tombs with at least one figurine called an ushabti, who acted as a servant in the afterlife. The message carved on each of the figurines explained that if the deceased is called on to do any work in the afterlife, the ushabti will respond with “Here I am” and will do the job. Some tombs had as many as one ushabti for every day of the year and another 36 overseers to keep order. All but the poorest citizens provided themselves with some kind of funerary furnishings. Products for burial and the labor to produce them made up a large industry in Egypt.


On View, Gallery 50


Arts of Africa


Ancient Egyptian


Shabti (Funerary Figurine) of Nebseni


Egypt (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

1570 BCE–1292 BCE


Wood (tamarisk) and pigment


O [thou] ushabti whom N. has instructed, lo, obstacles have been set up for him yonder. If (N.) is counted off for any work that is to be done in the god's domain, as a man to his duties, to cultivate the fields, to irrigate the shores, to transport sand of the east (and) of the west, "Here am I" shalt [tyou] say. "[Belonged to] the scribe of the treasure of the god's (i.e., the kings') wife, Nebseni."


28 × 8.3 × 6.4 cm (11 × 3 1/4 × 2 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Henry H. Getty and Charles L. Hutchinson

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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