• A Shabti of “Tjehebu the Great:” Tjainhebu (Ṯ3y-n-ḥbw) and Related Names from Middle Kingdom to Late Period

    Lloyd Graham (see profile)
    Egypt, History, Ancient
    Item Type:
    shabti, ushebti, onomastics, Third Intermediate Period, Egyptian personal names, Ancient Egypt
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    Section 1 of this paper describes a pottery shabti of the Third Intermediate Period and recounts the early stages of the project to understand the name of its owner. Sections 2-7 describe the outcome of the analysis. This covers both the name itself (its variants, orthographies and possible meanings) and a survey of those individuals who bore it in ancient Egypt, ordered by time-period. Ṯ-Hbw-aA seems to be a variant of the name ṮA-n-Hb aA and to denote “Tjainhebu the Great;” ṮA(y)-n-Hb.w may originally have meant something like “the man of the festivals.” The earliest known Tjainhebu dates to the Middle Kingdom and was probably called “the Great” to reflect his physical size. Precedents are discussed for the unusual orthography of the name on the shabti and its cognates. Some later names of similar form employ different types of h and therefore differ in meaning; for example, the name of Tjainehebu, Overseer of the King’s Ships in the 26th Dynasty, may have meant “Descendant of the ibis.” In the Late Period, both male and female forms of the name are known and seem to relate strongly to Lower Egypt: for men, to Memphis; for women, to Behbeit el-Hagar and Khemmis of the Delta. Faces can be put to two of the men, leading to a discussion of the verisimilitude of ancient Egyptian likenesses. Overall, the article presents an unpublished shabti with six known parallels that imply at least three moulds. The analysis triggered by the unusual name of its owner encompasses philology, onomastics, biography and portraiture, fields that are not usually considered together. It reprises in English earlier research (including much published in other languages) while collating and updating it with recent developments, including the possible need to amend pronunciation of the name to Tehabu/Tainhabu. One outcome of the study is a challenge to the published assignation of this owner’s shabtis as female.
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