The Joy of Museums

Finding Meaning in a Museum

Shawabti of King Senkamanisken

Penn Museum - Joy of Museums - Shawabti
The “Shawabti of King Senkamanisken” is a funerary figurine for Senkamanisken who was a Nubian king,  who ruled 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 Karima, 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 Nbia at this time.

This funerary figurine shows the King wearing a wig, a crown and false beard. His arms are crossed and he holds a hoe in one and a basket strap in other. There are Six registers of hieroglyphs on on front.

The shawabti or shabti also called ushabti with a number of variant spellings, was a funerary figurine used in Ancient Egypt. Produced in huge numbers, shawabti, along with scarabs, are the most numerous of all ancient Egyptian antiquities to survive.

Essential Facts:

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

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“The only wealth which you will keep forever is the wealth you have given away.”      Marcus Aurelius

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Photo Credit: By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons