The ancient Egyptians maintained that the sun was propelled across the heavens by means of a scarab, or sacred beetle. With the passing of time, the Egyptians created a series of amulets in the form of this beetle in a great variety of materials, and these were routinely provided with inscriptions in hieroglyphs conveniently accommodated to their stylized flat bottoms. So popular was the scarab that it became the one amulet associated with Egypt by all of her neighbors, and local variations were created in imitation of the Egyptian model.
Our scarab is just such a variation. Created in green jasper, the artist has simplified the beetle’s upper body so that there is no division between its thorax and elytra, or wing case. In like manner, the clypeus and head are treated as one unit with the complete suppression of the eyes. Its bottom surface depicts what appears to be a male figure striding to the right with a series of hieroglyphic signs randomly arranged in the field in front of that figure.