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Lesson X : Funerary statues

Another frequently occurring formula can be found mainly on a type of funerary statues known as Ushebties.
Ushebties are usually mummiform statues made out of stone, wood or faience, of varying size and quality. The crudest ones are barely recognizable as Ushebties and the typical formula is sometimes lacking or unreadable. Others are of such high quality that they can be counted as being among the finest examples of Ancient Egyptian art.

Ushebties owe their name to their function: the word comes from the verb wSb, "to answer" and literally means "the one who answers", for if called upon to do some task for their (deceased) owner, they would answer and fulfill their chore. In their hands, Ushebties often hold agricultural or other tools, the tools that they need to complete their tasks.
In Ancient Egyptian texts, Ushebties are sometimes also called or, both forms being derived from the original In modern-day literature, Ushebties are sometimes also referred to in modern-day texts as Shabties or Shawabties.

The text on Ushebties can vary from nonexistent to quite verbose. Ushebties without any text can only be identified because of their shape, the presence of tools (if any) and the archaeological context in which they are found.
Text can be written in a single column on the front and/or back of the statue, or in multiple rows across the front and back, depending on the length of the formula and the size of the Ushebtie in question.

The following elements are usually present in the short formula found on Ushebties:
* sHD, "Illuminate".
* wsir, "Osiris". The deceased is normally associated with the god Osiris.
* Name of the deceased
The name of the deceased can sometimes be preceded by his titulary, and followed by , mAa-xrw, "true of voice", an indication that the deceased has passed the judgment of the dead. In addition, the name of the deceased can also be followed by ms or more complete ms n, "born of" and the name of the deceased's mother. The name of the father is but rarely mentioned.

The longer formula has more elements and there is a lot more variation possible:
· i, "O, Ushebtie".
· ir ipw wsir
NN, "if Osiris NN calls", where NN represents the name of the deceased. As was the case with the shorter formula, the name of the deceased is usually preceded by the name of the funerary god Osiris. A titulary can sometimes also be present and is written between the name Osiris and the name of the deceased.
· r ir.t kA.t nb(.t) irj m Xr.t-nTr, "to do any task that is done in the underworld". This general description can be followed by some more specific tasks that the Ushebtie can be required to do. It should be noted that the presence of agricultural objects in the hands of the Ushebtie does not per definition imply that the tasks would be limited to the argricultural.
· mk wi, "behold, I am (here)". This part can be preceded by Dd=k, "you shall say". It can be omitted in abbreviated versions of the longer formula.

The longer formula is also referred to in modern literature as chapter 6 of the Book of the Dead. Both formulas can also be combined into one, which increases the number of possible variations of the formula. For the standard parts of all formulae provided here, variant spellings are, of course, always possible.





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