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Home > Auctions > 5th December 2023 > Egyptian Blue Faience Shabti for Nesitanebisheru

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LOT 0022

GBP (£) 25,000 - 35,000
EUR (€) 28,890 - 40,450
USD ($) 31,740 - 44,440

Opening Bid
£12,500 (EUR 14,447; USD 15,870) (‡+bp*)

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6 1/2 in. (314 grams total, 16.5 cm high including stand).

A vibrant blue-glazed mummiform shabti of princess Nesitanebisheru, daughter of Pinudjem II, on a custom-made display stand; modelled with arms crossed over the chest, holding a hoe in each hand, wearing a tripartite wig; netted seed bag painted on the back; the bottom half of the figure bearing eight columns of hieroglyphic text in black giving a version of the shabti spell reading:

(1) The illuminated one, the Osiris Nesitanebisheru, she says:
(2) ‘O this shabti, if one counts, if one reckons to do
(3) for the Osiris Nesitanebisheru, to cultivate the fields,
(4) to irrigate the riparian lands, to transport by boat the sand of
(5) the east (to) the west and vice-versa – now indeed obstacles are implanted
(6) therewith – as a man at his duties (to do for ?)
(7) the Osiris Nesitanebisheru, to do all the works that are to be done
(8) in God’s land at any time to serve, ‘here I am,’ (you shall say).

The object comes from the well known Deir el-Bahari cache (near Thebes) first discovered in 1870.
Ex Zurich Antiquities Fair.
Ex R. Liechti, Geneva, acquired from the above.

Accompanied by an academic report by Egyptologist Paul Whelan.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by search certificate no.11598-198961.

Cf. Janes, G., Shabtis: A Private View, Paris, 2002, pp.107-9, for a similar example; Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta USA,
inventory no. 2018.010.299, for a worker shabti of Nesitanebisheru.

Nesitanebisheru’s burial was discovered in the famous ‘Royal Cache I’ at Deir el-Bahari (DB 320), with many dozens of coffins and vast quantities of funerary equipment belonging to pharaohs, including Thutmose III and Ramesses II, queens, and other royals, as well as elite members of society that had been reburied by Amun priests to hide them from tomb robbers. Nesitanebisheru’s coffin and burial equipment, including her shabtis, were found at the very end of the c. 70m long tomb in a chamber which served as a family vault for her father, the High Priest of Amun, Pinudjem II, and his principal wife Neskhons. While her worker shabtis are all mostly similar in style with 6-8 text columns, the composition of their
inscriptions are not consistent with different openings and variations to the content (often including several peculiarities). Curiously, her titles do not appear in her shabti inscription, unlike those for her mother.