Posts Tagged With: Class BB

Ancient Egyptian Artifacts – Shabtis

What are Shabtis?
A shabti is a  small figure that was placed in the tomb of an Ancient Egyptian. They are sometimes called ushabtis or shaptis. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the afterlife would be much like this one, so they created shabtis to serve the dead in their next life doing tasks such as irrigating the river and farming fields. Although the design, materials and size of figures changed over time, all shabtis have several features in common.

Close up a shabti figure

A typical Shabti figure, crafted to serve the dead in the afterlife.

What did they look like?
Shabtis are based on human figures that have been mummified and just like mummies, shabtis are usually sculpted with their legs bound together and their arms folded.  It is a common feature  for older shabtis to feature an inscription in hieroglyphics on the lower part of the body. This was later replaced with the name and title of their owner. The inscription was a spell binding the shabti to the deceased and calling them to serve in the afterlife.

Shapti Spell
Although there are lots of variations of the spell, it could be translated into english as:

O, shabti, if you are called upon.
To do all the work that needs to be done in the afterlife.
“Here I am!,” you will say when you are called to serve.
To farm the fields, to irrigate the river and to ferry sand.
“Here I am,” you will say.

This shabti's lower body has been decorated with the shabti spell, binding it to serve the deceased in the afterlife.

This shabti’s lower body has been decorated with the ‘shabti spell’, binding it to serve the deceased in the afterlife.

What were shabtis made from?
Shabtis were made out of lots of different materials. It was not uncommon for the Shabtis of the wealthy to be carved out of precious stones such as alabaster or turquoise. Poorer egyptians might have simpler shabtis made from clay, wood or even mud.

Group of Shabtis on display in a museum.

Many wealthy egyptians would have a shabti to serve in the afterlife for each day of the year. As well as the worker shabtis, they would also have an ‘overseer’ for every 10 workers.

More Shabti Facts

  • Tutankhamun had 413 shabtis in his tomb
  • King Taharqa had over a thousand.
  • Shabtis are the most common ancient egyptian artifact remaining today.
  • The shabti spell is written in the ancient egyptian ‘Book of the Dead’

Design a Shabti!
Next week we are going to design our own shabtis and decorate them with our names in hieroglyphics. Why not have a go yourself using one of these outline templates.

Shabtis – Templates

Image Credits
Close up of shabti: koopmanrob / / CC BY-SA
Shabti spell: CESRAS / / CC BY-NC-SA
Group of shabtis: koopmanrob / / CC BY-SA

Categories: The Ancient Egyptians | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ancient Egypt

This February we will turn our attention to an exploration of Ancient Egypt.  We will use different sources of historical evidence including ancient egyptian artifacts to build up an image of the Ancient Egyptians and their way of life.

What aspects of the topic are you interested in learning about?  What do you know already?  How would you like to find out about it?  Leave your comments below.

A lot of the way of life of the Ancient Egyptians revolved around the River Nile.  Photo © Niek | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
Image: © Niek | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Temple Reflections

© Jsanchez_bcn | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

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Leaf Printing

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In art this week we had fun making stencils in the shape of rainforest leaves. We then used the stencils to create some sponge prints and negative pastel prints.

Categories: The Rainforest | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

What is a Rainforest?

Since we are learning about rainforests we decided our first job was to find out exactly what one was. Here are some facts we learnt…

Rainforest Photo

The hot and humid conditions make rainforests a perfect habitat for many of the worlds plants, animals and insects.

Rainforests are very dense, hot and humid forests and are home to millions of the earth’s plants and animals.  More species are found in rainforests than any other habitat in the world.

The word rainforest was first used at the end of the 19th Century to describe forests that grow in constantly wet conditions. Today, scientists define rain forests as forests that receive more than 2,000 mm of rain evenly spread throughout the year.

Raining in the Forest

A rainforest is often referred to as a jungle, which is a Hindi word from India meaning a wilderness. A true jungle is a thick tangle of vegetation, through which people have to force and cut their way. Rainforests are diverse, some parts contain patches of jungle and other parts are more open.
There are actually two types of rainforest. Tropical and Temperate. When most people refer to rainforests they are talking about tropical rainforests.

Tropical rainforests are only found in the tropics - an area found around the equator betweeen the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer.

Tropical rainforests are found around the Equator. There is very little variation between the seasons. Can you think of a reason why? They have an even distribution of rainfall annually and are warm and hot all year round.

Temperate rainforests are found further away from the tropics. They often have a wet season and a dry season.

Temperate rainforests are found further away from the equator. They have two seasons: a wet season and a dry season. The temperature varies much more than a tropical rainforest.
More Rainforest Facts!
• The Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world, It covers an area of about 3 million square miles – that’s about 60 times bigger than the whole of England!
• Although they cover less than 2 percent of the Earth’s total surface area, the world’s rainforests are estimated to be home to half of the Earth’s plants and animals.
• Rainforests are the “lungs of our planet”. It is estimated that more than 20 percent of Earth’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest.
• Because there is so much sunlight, heat and water – trees have the resources to grow to tremendous heights, and they live for hundreds, even thousands, of years.
Categories: The Rainforest | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Welcome to Our New Blog!

In 2010 we embarked on our new skill-based curriculum and next year we’re going global! Join our class on our learning journey into the rainforests of the world. We hope to use this blog as a tool for learning, sharing and celebrating.  Look out for our first learning posts in January 2012.

In the meantime please visit the links below to see the type of things we will be exploring.

Image: porbital /

Categories: The Rainforest | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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