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Shawabti of King Senkamanisken

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Shawabti of King Senkamanisken

The “Shawabti of King Senkamanisken” is a funerary figurine for Senkamanisken, who was a Nubian king, ruling from 640 to 620 BCE at Napata. Napata was a city-state of ancient Nubia on the west bank of the Nile River, at the site of modern Northern Sudan. Nubia had gained control over Egypt but lost it shortly before Senkamanisken came to power. Egyptian in style, this Shawabti shows the influence of Egyptian art and culture on Nubia at this time.

This funerary figurine shows the King wearing a wig, a crown, and a false beard. His arms are crossed, and he holds a hoe in one hand and a basket strap in the other hand. There are six registers of hieroglyphs on the front. The Shawabti was a funerary figurine used in Ancient Egypt and was produced in huge numbers. The Shawabti, along with scarabs, are the most numerous of all ancient Egyptian antiquities to survive.

Ancient Egyptian Funerary Practices

The ancient Egyptians had an elaborate set of funerary practices. They believed the rituals were necessary to ensure their immortality after death or as they referred to it the afterlife. These rituals and protocols included mummifying the body, magic spells, and burial with grave goods thought to be needed in the Egyptian afterlife. The ushabti, also called shabti or shawabti, with several variant spellings, was a funerary figurine used in ancient Egyptian religion. This Shawabti was placed in the tomb along with other grave goods.

Shawabti of King Senkamanisken

  • Title:               Shawabti of King Senkamanisken
  • Culture:          Napatan
  • Providence:  Sudan, Nuri, Pyramid III
  • Date Made:    643-623 BC
  • Materials:       Serpentine
  • Dimensions:   H: 17cm; W: 5.5cm; D: 4cm
  • Museum:        Penn Museum

Explore the Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


  • During Nubian control over Egypt, did Egyptian culture capture the Nubians?
  • Do we think of Ancient Egypt as African?
  • Have you ever put a funerary token into a family member’s or friend’s casket?

Tour of Egyptian Art


“The nut doesn’t reveal the tree it contains.”
– Egyptian Quotes


Photo Credit: GM