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Comparison Between Egyptian Ushabti and Chinese Terracotta Army

CriteriaEgyptian Ushabti Chinese Terracotta Army
ImagesEgyptian Ushabti Chinese Terracotta Army
Outline - The ushabti funerary figurines were placed in tombs among the grave goods and were intended to act as substitutes for the deceased
- They covered the floor around a sarcophagus, and were sometimes grouped and placed inside elegant boxes
- They were used extensively starting from the Middle Kingdom until the end of the Ptolemaic Period 2000 years later.
- All social classes in ancient Egypt had Ushabti figurines buried with them, the difference being in their craftsmanship, material and numbers
- The Terra Cotta Warriors are the funerary statues of Qin Shi Huangdi the First Emperor of China, dating from 210 BC.
- In addition to the warriors, an entire necropolis for the emperor was constructed involving 700,000 workers
- The First Emperor was buried with palaces, scenic towers, officials, valuable utensils and 100 rivers fashioned in mercury
- The Terracotta Army figures supply abundant and detailed artifacts for the study of the military, cultural and economic history of ancient China
Purpose - The figurines "answered" for the deceased person during his judgment in the Hall of Maat
- They also worked as slaves and performed all the routine chores of daily life for its master, , allowing them to live an afterlife of relaxation.
- The purpose of this army was to help rule another empire with Shi Huang Di and defend him from any dangers in the afterlife.
Production - The number of figures buried with the deceased varied considerably, and their number also increased over time. While in earlier periods there might be very few buried with the deceased
The tomb of Tutankhamen in the 18th Dynasty had 365 ushabti placed, one for each day of the year, plus another 48 overseers, making a total of 418
- During the Ptolemaic Period ushabti manufacture this sprang up as an industry for supplying grave goods at reasonable prices.
- Low quality ushabtis were mass-produced and buried in huge numbers, ushabtis are the most numerous of all ancient Egyptian antiquities to survive.
- A large fire and looting in antiquity burned the wooden structures that housed the Terracotta Army. Because of this, only one statue has survived intact: a statue of a kneeling archer.
- Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, much of the remains of the army survives in various stages of preservation, surrounded by remnants of the burnt wooden structures.
Characteristics - Ushabtis were mostly mummiform, but occasionally they were fashioned as servants with baskets, sacks, and other agricultural tools
- They were sometimes made of terracotta, wood and stone, but the most common material was faience.
- The great mass of cheaply made ushabtis for the common people tombs became standardized, and were made from single molds with little detail.
- The ushabti figures were usually inscribed with the name of the deceased to ensure that only he could command them
- Ushabti inscriptions contained the 6th chapter of the Book of the Dead
- Surface treatment of the weapons made them resistant to rust and corrosion so that after being buried for over 2000 years they were still sharp.
- Moulds were used to manufacture the statues, and then clay was added to provide individual facial features, and finally colored with lacquer
- Once assembled, intricate features such as facial expressions were added. Each statue was constructed to have unique clothing, hairstyle, and gestures.
- Many of the figures originally held real weapons of the time to create a realistic appearance, such as bronze swords, longbows, arrows, spears, dagger-axes and other long-shafted weapons.
Size Most ushabtis were of minor size between about 10 and 30 cm tall. The figures were life-like and life-sized and varied in height from 183 to 195 cm,

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Poll: The vast amount of Ushabti statues found in all over Egypt are subject to smuggling from antique dealers. On the other hand housing 1000s of identical figurines in few museums will provide a boring experience for visitors. What is in your view the best policy to make use of these artifacts?

Answers:
19%
32 votes

55%
90 votes

25%
41 votes

Total votes:
163

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By Ayman Fadl - Copyright © 2001-2014