Dimensions: 0.750" (1.9cm) wide
Collection: Egyptian antiquities
Style: Middle Kingdom, Dyn. XII
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.
This amulet in the form of a scarab is one of several Egyptian variations on the theme. The body of the beetle is stylized to the extent that the details of the head, plate, and clypeus are confined to a single zone and rely on a few ornamentally incised strokes for their articulation.
The bottom of our scarab is decorated with numerous hieroglyphs arranged into the field in a rather free-flowing design which observes, but not rigorously, certain zones. At the top, arranged obliquely in conformity with the oval contour of the scarab, are two confronted uraei, or sacred cobras, flanking an ankh-sign. Beneath their coiled bodies to the left and right is a sun disc with pendant cobra. The central image is a falcon, facing right, wearing the Red Crown and flanked on either side by a nefer-sign. Two vertical emblems of the goddess Bat close the composition at the bottom and these stand on a neb-sign, or basket, on the top center of which appears the hieroglyph for the sun rising at dawn.