TITLE: Ushabti for Khaemweset
CULTURE: Ancient Egypt
PERIOD: New Kingdom, Dynasty XIX, Kingdom of Ramesses II, 1279 - 1213 B.C.
DIMENSIONS: Height 14.5 cm.
PRICE: 6,000 Euros.
PROVENANCE: Private collection of Dr. L. Benguerel Godó, Barcelona, acquired in London in the 1960s.
This ushabti figurine is depicted as a labourer, as he is holding two hoes to cultivate the fields of Osiris in the afterlife. He is wearing a short wig with a lock of hair falling on the right side. He also has a curled Osiris-style beard ending in a closed outward curl. Only his hands protrude from his mummyform shroud which covers all the body. These are crossed on his chest and are holding the agricultural implements already mentioned.
The body is inscribed with a vertical column of hieroglyphs. This reads: “Glorified be the Osiris, Sem-Priest, King’s Son, Khaemweset, justified”.
Khaemweaset was a prince of Egypt, the fourth son of the Pharaoh Ramesses II and the second of his second High Royal Wife, the queen Isetnofret. He is by far the best known son of Ramesses II, and his contributions to Egyptian society were remembered for centuries after his death. Khaemweset has been described as "the first Egyptologist" due to his efforts in identifying and restoring historic buildings, tombs and temples. He was the high priest of Ptah and, at the end of his life, governor of Memphis and heir to the throne. He died at the age of 56 in the year 55 of the reign of his father. His tomb is probably in Saqqara where remains were found that could be from this.
The tomb was found by the French Egyptologist, Auguste Mariette, during the first exploration of the Serapeum at Saqqara, between 1851 and 1853. He had to use explosives to blow up a great piece of rock, and found an intact coffin with the mummy covered by a gold mask and with jewellery that showed his name: Khaemweset, son of Ramesses and builder of Serapeum. These remains have been lost and Egyptologists believe that this was not, in fact, the tomb of Khaemweset but rather the remains of an Apis bull converted into human form to resemble that of the prince.