Shabti Box of Nany, Upper Egypt
Shabti dolls were funerary figures in ancient Egypt that accompanied the deceased to the after-life. Shabti's name is derived from the Egyptian swb for stick but also corresponds to the word for `answer' (wsb) and so the shabtis were known as `The Answerers'.
The figures, shaped as adult male or female mummies, appear in tombs early on (when they represented the deceased) and, by the time of the New Kingdom (1570-1069 BCE) were made of stone or wood (in the Late Period they were composed of faience) and represented an anonymous `worker'. Each doll was inscribed with a `spell' (known as the shabti formula) which specified the function of that particular figure.