Dimensions: 0.625" (1.6cm) wide
Collection: Egyptian antiquities
Style: Second Intermediate Period
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 these take the form of a modified hour-glass. A single V-shaped notch on either side of the body serves to separate the thorax from the elytra, or wing case.
The principal image is that of a lion striding toward the right. He is preceded by a uraeus, or sacred cobra, in front of which and rotated ninety degrees from the horizontal in order to accommodate itself into the curve of the scarab’s top is a winged sun disc. A stylized sa-sign, symbolizing protection, appears under the belly of the lion, while elsewhere in the field one finds two depictions of the rising sun, a water sign, and an unadorned sun disc.