Egyptian statuettes ‘uchabti’ in Turkey

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Acting as substitutes, the ceramic “oushabti” figurines were intended to accompany the Egyptians on their journeys and work in the afterlife. Kept in the cellars of the Izmir Archaeological Museum for 80 years, they are now exhibited for the first time in Turkey.

Used in funeral rituals in ancient Egypt and found during archaeological excavations in western Anatolia, small statuettes called “ushabti” are on display for the first time in the Turkish province of Izmir.

On display at the Izmir Archaeological Museum, ushabti date back 2,700 years and were typically made of wood, stone or earthenware. Those in this exhibition are ceramic and were discovered in archaeological sites of Bayrakli, Foca and Erythrai in Izmir, according to the Daily sabah.

An oushabti figurine with hieroglyphic writing on display at the Izmir Archaeological Museum. (Omer Evren Atalay / AA)

The National Trust describes the ushabtis as representing their early deceased owners, beginning with the Twelfth Dynasty (1985-1773 BC), explaining that “according to Egyptian belief, preservation of the body was essential, because without a functioning body, the deceased not survive in the afterlife. The shabti therefore acted as a substitute in case their master’s mummy was damaged, ensuring his eternal life. “

Due to this close relationship, the deceased was only buried with one or two of these figurines. Later, especially during the New Kingdom (1550-1069 BC), the role of ushabti (also known as shabti or shawabti) ​​changed: in the afterlife , like fieldwork. For this reason, the shabtis are equipped with tools like hoes and seed bags.

The National Trust notes that the number of figurines of servants deposited in tombs increased “considerably” during this time, with dead Egyptians buried with literally hundreds of Shabtis: “The number of figurines of servants deposited in tombs has considerably increased. increased at this time. Henceforth, the deceased would ideally possess 401 shabtis, including 365 worker-shabtis (one per day of the year) and 36 overseers-shabtis (one per Egyptian 10-day week).

Close-up of a Ushabti figurine with hieroglyphic writing on display in the Izmir Archaeological Museum.

Close-up of a Ushabti figurine with hieroglyphic writing on display in the Izmir Archaeological Museum. (Omer Evren Atalay / AA)

Ushabtis were small, light and common, according to the National Trust, allowing early travelers to take them home as souvenirs: “So it’s no surprise that there isn’t an Egyptian museum or collection. private without at least one shabti.

The Izmir Archeology Museum plans to present a different artifact to visitors each month, and September 2021 marks the introduction of the ushabti figurines.

Turkish state news agency Anadolu Agency (AA) notes that the statuettes were transferred to the Izmir Archaeological Museum from the Istanbul Archaeological Museum in the 1930s and were kept in the warehouses of the Archaeological Museum of Izmir for about 80 years.

Three Ushabti figurines on display at the Izmir Archaeological Museum in western Turkey.

Three Ushabti figurines on display at the Izmir Archaeological Museum in western Turkey. (Courtesy of Izmir Archaeological Museum)

AA notes that the figures suggest “long-standing commercial and cultural relations” between Egypt and Anatolia.

Local and international tourists are welcome to visit the museum until the end of September to view the figurines, with hieroglyphic inscriptions saying “ready for the calls of duty of the gods”.

“We know that Anatolia and Egypt have had very important and deeply rooted relations in the fields of politics, culture, art and commerce in every period of history,” he told the Anadolu Hunkar Keser agency, director of the Izmir Archaeological Museum.

Three ushabti figurines at the Izmir Archaeological Museum in a photograph that shows their small scale.

Three ushabti figurines at the Izmir Archaeological Museum in a photograph that shows their small scale. (Omer Evren Atalay / AA)

According to information received from the Izmir Archaeological Museum, there are two Egyptian temples in Ephesus, Turkey: for Isis and Serapis. Additionally, it is rumored that the sister of Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, Arsinoe II of Egypt was married to King Lysimachus, King of Ephesus.

There are a lot of Anatolian imported goods from Egypt, including pottery, as well as offerings to the gods, including funeral gifts. These ushabti figurines were part of Egyptian influence in Anatolia at the time, according to sources.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies


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