Archaeological Museum of Bologna

Museo Civico Archeologico
Via dell'Archiginnasio 2 - 40124 Bologna

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Collections / Sections / The Egyptian Collection


Ushabti are funerary statuettes that Egyptians began to put in tombs from the end of the Middle Kingdom.
Generally they did not exceed 20 cm in height and they were created in different materials, wood, terracotta, faience, bronze and stone.
Placed as funerary equipment first in small numbers, gradually increased until the eighth-seventh century B.C., when the fixed number of statuettes became 401: 365 servants, one for each day of the year, 41 foremen in charge of each group of 10 ushabti.

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The Ushabti (“answerer”) are represented with the body wrapped in bandages or clothing in everyday life, with small sickles and hoes in their hands and with a bag for seeds on the shoulder. These figures would be revived  thanks to the magic formula inscribed on their body and they replaced the departed in heavy agricultural work of the Egyptian paradise. Particularly remarkable among the specimens on display, are the turquoise-blue faïence and wooden ushabti of Pharaoh Seti I, father of Ramses II.

Provenance: Egypt: different provenances
Datation: From Middle Kingdom

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Exhibition rooms | Egyptian collection