Less Than Perfect

Less Than Perfect

Crooked Servants for the Dead

Ushabti Figurines
  • Ushabti figurines
  • Glazed faience
  • Terenouthis, Egypt
  • Greco-Roman period, c. 332 BCE—300 CE
  • Kelsey Expedition, L to R: KM 92602, KM 92570, KM 92475, KM 92297, KM 92506, KM 92269
Map

Ushabti figurines were buried with high status ancient Egyptians to act as servants in the afterlife—the more the better. These figurines are made of faience, a molded and glazed sand paste that was fired in a kiln. The process often went wrong, but this was not a problem. The ushabti still could perform their tasks no matter how damaged they appeared.