Tut Exhibit - King Tutankhamun Exhibit, Collection: Statues, Sculptures and Containers - Wooden Shawabty Figure

The Tutankhamun Exhibit

Statues, Sculptures and Containers

Wooden Shawabty figure

Wooden Shawabty Figure

In Tutankhamun's time, funerary figures resembling mummies, but with the head and neck exposed, were known by the name shawabty, perhaps because they were originally made of wood from the persea tree, called in Egyptian shawab. Their purpose was to act as substitutes for their deceased owner, or to be his servants, when he required to undertake agricultural work in the next world. The number buried with one person varied greatly; Tutankhamun had 413. In some tombs there were 401, one figure for each day of the year and thirty-six foremen to control groups of ten figures. This wooden figure, made in the likeness of Tutankhamun holding the crook and flail of Osiris, was a funerary gift from the General Minnakht.