Painted wood ushabti ‘funerary figurine’ of the king Ramesses IV. Funerary figurines, known as “ Ushabtis” by the Egyptians (which means “those who answer”) are viewed as typical ancient Egypt objects. They represent the deceased in the form of a mummy. The figure’s name, headdress, and any hand-held accessories are the only way to know whether the ushabti represents a king or a commoner.
They appeared during the Middle Kingdom and were then produced until the end of the Egyptian dynasties. They did, however, originate with royalty. A text was often written the body of the ushabtis, indicating the statuette’s purpose. It comes from the Book of the Coming Forth by Day, more commonly known as the Book of the Dead, a collection of spells concerning the deceased and his life after death in eternity.
It calls on the deceased’s double, represented by the figurine, to take the deceased’s place and perform certain tasks, including agricultural jobs, which may be demanded of him in the afterlife.
New Kingdom, Ramesside Period, 20th Dynasty, ca. 1189-1077 BC. Now in the Louvre. N 438