From Egypt; Probably from Middle Egypt, Amarna (Akhetaten)
h. 15 cm (5 7/8 in.); w. 8.4 cm (3 5/16 in.); d. 5.5 cm (2 3/16 in.)
Rogers Fund, 1947
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 122
Shabtis were intended to perform work that the deceased was called upon to do in the afterlife. More than two hundred shabti fragments inscribed for Akhenaten are known, and their existence suggests that belief in the afterlife and certain aspects of traditional funerary practices survived during the Amarna period. However, Akhenaten's shabtis are inscribed only with the king's names and titles (see also 66.99.106), not the standard shabti text (see 86.1.22).
This fragmentary shabti shows Akhenaten clutching two ankh hieroglyphs rather than the hoe and pick that are more traditional attributes of shabtis (see 26.7.919). He also wears a tripartite wig rather than the nemes headcloth that is more common for royal shabtis (as on 66.99.35 and 66.99.36). The "sfumato" eyes, in which only a minimum of detail is indicated, are a frequent feature of Amarna funerary art (see 66.99.38).