Sculptures and Small Relics
Not all sculptures were created on such a large scale. Some of the smallest relics discovered in ancient tombs are the ushabti.
Ushabti were small statuettes that were said to be representations of slaves or helpers who would accompany the soul of the departed Pharaoh into the afterlife. There, the ushabti would act as helpers and perform tasks for the deceased, such as craftsman, agricultural workers and laborers.
Depending on the historical period, the ushabti were prepared and placed in different ways.
In the First Intermediate Period, the ushabti were placed on or in the coffin of the deceased. These ushabtis differed from later ones in that they were not inscribed with a magical formula which would activate them.
In the Middle Kingdom, the ushabti were wrapped in linen and placed in miniature coffins. These shabtis were meant to represent the deceased, so usually there was only one shabti in any given tomb.
By the time of the New Kingdom, it was not uncommon for the deceased to be buried with upwards of forty shabti. However as the end of the New Kingdom approached, craftsmanship declined as the shabti were mass-produced and more Egyptians, not just the rich or royalty, could afford to purchase shabti for their own tombs.
Regardless of social status, the ushabti were a symbolic talisman that played an important role in the culture and history of Ancient Egypt.