Egyptian White Faience Shabti of Neferrenpet

Egyptian White Faience Shabti of Neferrenpet

An ancient Egyptian white faience shabti of Vizier Neferrenpet. The bearded mummiform figure wears a broad collar, a wig with a side lock of hair, his crossed hands hold hoes, and a seed bag hangs from his back. A vertical Hieroglyphic inscription is painted on the front, reading, "The iIluminated one, the Osiris, Sem Priest of Ptah, Neferrenpet, justified."

New Kingdom, Ramesside Period,
19th Dynasty, ca. 1279 - 1193 BC.
Height: 5 1/2 in. (14 cm).

Neferrenpet was Vizier of Egypt and High Priest of Ptah under Ramesses II. The Vizier was the highest ranking official to serve the Pharaoh and his responsibilities included supervising the administration of ancient Egypt. During the New Kingdom, the role of Vizier was split between the North and South. Neferrenpet served as Vizier of the South during the latter part of Ramesses II reign. Neferrenpet also served as the most important religious administrator, the High Priest of Ptah (Sem Priest of Ptah, ?great chief of all artisans?). The High Priest was an advisor to the Pharaoh and oversaw the religious rites and ceremonies at the temple. A Sem Priest was responsible for performing funeral rites. Ceremonial accoutrement included dressing in a panther skin and wearing a short wig with a side lock. Neferrenpet is depicted on a stela at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The votive stela shows him wearing a long kilt, performing a ceremonial offering to Ptah. A second instance of the name Neferrenpet can be found in papyrus from a tomb excavated at the archaeological site at Deir el-Medinah. Known as ?The Book of the Dead of the sculptor Neferrenpet,? this text is currently on display at the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels.

Shabtis were first introduced in the Middle Kingdom as substitutes for the the mummy in case it was destroyed. During the Second Intermediate Period inscribed wooden figures called shawabtis (after the Egyptian word for wood, shawab) began to be placed in tombs. During the New Kingdom, shabtis assumed a new role as servant figures for the deceased. They were now depicted with agricultural equipment. By the Third Intermediate Period, the number of shabtis placed in the tomb was set at 401 (365 workers and 36 overseers). During the Late Period the tomb figures became known as ushabtis ('answerers'), these figures represented servants who would magically answer when called upon to perform agricultural duties for the Pharaoh (in the form of Osiris) in the afterlife. Their main function was to ensure the individual's comfort and freedom from daily labor in the next life.

The authenticity of this piece has been confirmed by a thermoluminescence test performed by QED laboratory in France and an XRF analysis performed by Emory University in Georgia.

Formerly in the collection of Dr. Leopoldo Benguerel y Godo, Barcelona, acquired in London in the 1960's.

Inv#: 5881


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