Shabtis or ushabtis are among the most numerous of all Egyptian antiquities, as they played a major role in funeral rites. Indeed, they were intended to act as servants for the deceased and to perform any manual labour for their master in the afterlife. For this to be possible, it was necessary that each shabti present in the grave had the name of their master inscribed on it and also a summoning spell to which they replied. In fact, shabti – or ushabti – translates as “the answerer”. Such figurines could also be inscribed with passages from the Book of the Dead, the intention of which was to secure safety for the deceased in the afterlife.
Based on the hieroglyph inscription and stylistic features of the shabti, this particular figurine belongs to the same owner as shabtis owned by the British Museum, Cairo and Chicago Museum, to name but a few. Pa-di-pep’s tomb was found at Saqqara, located west of the Pyramid of Teti, discovered in 1893. His shabti’s were sold to tourists after its opening and thus many can be found around the world. Pa-di-pep translates as ‘He who was given from the god Pep’ and belongs to the ‘theophorous’ names category. The individual, as a gift of a god: pA/tA-di-X, i.e. He/She whom god X has given. The god’s name was interchangeable, sometimes Osiris as Pa-di-Usr, Isis as Pa-di-3st and our own example. Such naming was common from the New Kingdom to the Ptolemaic Period.