Wooden Shabti of Tutankhamun; wood, gold, paint and copper alloy. Dynasty 18, reign of Tutankhamun (1332–1323 B.C.), Thebes, Valley of the Kings, tomb of Tutankhamun.
The shabtis and their tools (hoes, mattocks and baskets attached to yokes) are linked to an important belief about Osiris’ kingdom. Osiris is the god of the dead and the bondsman of the deceased’s survival after his death. It was believed that Osiris could summon his subjects - including the deceased king - to work in his fields or accomplish another manual task for him. In order to deal with this possibility, dozens of shabtis were placed in the king’s tomb: these little statuettes were meant to replace the king when he would be summoned by Osiris. In Tutankhamun’s tomb, for instance, there was a shabti for each day in a year and a few shabtis monitors.