Object biography #12: A wooden shabti of King Seti I (Acc. no. 13906)

Only 6 days to go as we prepare to the close our much loved Ancient Egypt galleries until 2021!

We continue the countdown with a look at the A wooden shabti of King Seti I (Acc. no. 13906)

Egypt at the Manchester Museum

Seti I shabti Acc. no. 13906. © Glenn Janes

Shabti figures are very popular, especially when they depict royal personages. Some of the most common royal shabtis you are likely to encounter are those of King Seti I (c. 1294-79 BC). Estimates vary, but it is probable that Seti had over 1000 shabtis – the largest number of any New Kingdom king. Materials for the shabtis varied, and included faience, alabaster and steatite – but the most common material was wood.

After his 1817 discovery of the tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings (KV 17), the strongman explorer Giovanni Belzoni gave an account of its contents. He described “scattered in various places, an immense quantity of small wooden figures of mummies six or eight inches long, and covered with asphaltum to preserve them.” Modern analysis has identified the species of wood as juniper. It is…

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