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Ushabti means ‘answerer’ – one who answers for the deceased. The popular explanation is that these figures would substitute for the deceased in performing any work required in the afterlife – the inscriptions on them would seem to bear this out. They first appear in the Middle Kingdom (c.2000 BC) but are not common until the New Kingdom (c.1500 BC). They were usually placed in the tomb of the deceased, by the late period in very large numbers. They were made of a variety of materials including wood, stone, pottery and faience. This example is a tourist souvenir made of a dense plastic resin and sold to me in Aswan in 2018 as ‘genuine stone’ – despite which it is rather fine.