X : Funerary statues
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.
owe their name to their function: the word
wSb.tj 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
SAb.tj, both forms being derived from the original wSb.tj.
In modern-day literature, Ushebties are sometimes also referred
to in modern-day texts as Shabties or Shawabties.
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.
following elements are usually present in the short formula
found on Ushebties:
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.
longer formula has more elements and there is a lot more variation
i wSb.tj, "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
mk wi, "behold, I am (here)". This part can be preceded
Dd=k, "you shall say". It can be omitted in abbreviated
versions of the longer formula.
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.