Shabti of the Adoratrice of Hathor ("Duahathor") Henettawy, wife of Painedjem I

Third Intermediate Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 130

This small figurine is a shabti from the burial of a royal woman named Henettawy who lived during the early 21st Dynasty at Thebes. During this era, control of Egypt was divided between the kings in the north, who ruled from Tanis in the Nile Delta, and the High Priests of the great state god Amun, who controlled the southern part of the country. Henettawy was a wife of the High Priest of Amun and King Painedjem I, who ruled from Thebes. She was also the daughter of a king, likely either Ramesses XI or Smendes (Nesbanebdjed) I.

In the ancient Egyptian belief system, shabtis were avatars of the deceased who could be called upon to perform manual labor on his or her behalf in the afterlife. By Henettawy’s time, as many as 401 shabtis (a worker for each day of the year plus an overseer for each 10-day week) were included with the burials of wealthy people. Worker shabtis like this one can be identified by the agricultural tools they hold, whereas overseer shabtis typically wear a skirt and carry a whip.

In addition to being the wife and daughter of kings, Henettawy held a long list of royal titles, including King’s Mother, Mother of the God’s Wife of Amun, Mother of the High Priest of Amun, and the unique title Adoratrice of Hathor. She was also a First Great Chief of the Principal Musical Troupe of Amun, the title given to the head of the great god’s female clergy. These designations indicate that Henettawy was the highest-ranking female in the Theban area during her lifetime.

Henettawy’s list of titles alludes to several of her children who held important positions at Thebes. Notable among them are a son named Psusennes I, who became king, ruling from Tanis in the north, and a daughter, Maatkare, who held the title God’s Wife of Amun. There were three High Priests of Amun who were likely sons of Painedjem I, Menkheperre, Djedkhonsuefankh, and Masaharta; any or all of these may also have been Henettawy’s sons.

This shabti was presumably discovered in the “First Royal Cache” (TT320) in Western Thebes in a valley near the temples of Mentuhotep II and Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri. This hidden tomb contained the re-burials of a number of kings and queens of the New Kingdom (about 1550 to 1100 B.C.), along with the burials of Henettawy, Painedjem I, and members of their immediate family, spanning several generations.

For Queen Henettawy’s shabtis at The Met, see O.C.847, 10.130.1066, 10.130.1067a; 10.130.1067b, 17.194.2403, 17.194.2404, and 44.4.88.

Shabti of the Adoratrice of Hathor ("Duahathor") Henettawy, wife of Painedjem I, Faience

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