The Imenmes ushabty

The Imenmes ushabty, painted wood, New Kingdom, late 18th to early 19th dynasty (second half of 14th to early 13th century BC), from Deir el Medina (tomb TT9) (inv. n. E 0.9.40158, E 0.9.40159)

The two exquisite mummiform statuettes were part of the grave goods buried with the priest-healer Imenmes "Charmer of Serket" (scorpion- goddess). The almond eyes, long face and full lips are indicative of artwork that appeared during the reign of Akhenaten (1351-1334 BC) and continued through the immediately following period.

The ushabty, which means “answerer”, was required to toil in the fields of Osiris in place of the deceased in the afterlife. Placed in the tombs of both royalty and commoners from the time of the Middle Kingdom, they were initially individual pieces, but gradually their numbers increased until, in the late New Kingdom, the (ideal) number rose to 365 ushabty, one for every day of the year.