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"Who am I? I am the one who answers"

My master created me to be buried with him in his tomb. In the afterlife, my master will come alive and may be called upon to do work like farming and irrigation. He has inscribed me with a magical spell in hieroglyphics which when recited, I will come alive and serve him in that life. The spell is "O shawabti, if the deceased is called upon to do work in the next world, answer "Here I am!" Plough fields, fill the canals with water and carry the sand of the east to the west."

Notice that I am in a mummified form except for my hands which are protruding from the bandages. That is so I can work for my master and do the jobs required of me. My name "shawabti" refers to the persea-tree out of which some of us were made, although I am made of faience. Faience is a paste made of ground quartz or of sand with a high percentage of quartz. To make me, the faience paste was pressed into a mould and then fired.

When baked, the glaze migrates to the outside, producing a smooth glassy surface. The quality and the colour of the glaze depend on the impurities in the paste. Some, like me range in colour from bright dark blue to various shades of turquoise and pale green. We also come in all sizes and shapes. Another name for me is "ushabti" which means "answerer".

Thus when my master is called to work in the afterlife, I will answer for him. There are other ushabtis buried with me so my master will have many servants in the afterlife. I was made around the year 600 BC according to your calendar, near the present city of Cairo in Egypt.

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