Circa: 1550 BC to 1070 BC
Dimensions: 0.825" (2.1cm) wide
Collection: Egyptian Antiquities
Style: New Kingdom
The modeling of our scarab is restrained with the salient features of the beetle stylized and rendered as elegant, abstract forms. The eyes are clearly defined at the corners of the triangularly-shaped head which merges in an almost hour-glass configuration with the clypeus over the plate. The legs are suggested by a feathered-pattern, whereas the thorax and elytra are not differentiated. The latter is, however, simply ornamented with one short, horizontal tick on either side. Such ornamentation of the elytra appears in scarabs assigned to the Middle Kingdom but continues in use through the New Kingdom.
The principle motif on the bottom takes the form of a feline, perhaps to be identified as a lion, moving to the right with its tail curled back into the field above its spine. There is a single, trident-shaped floral form in the field between its tail and hind leg. This image is deeply-set and characterized by a large, circular eye.Images of felines, identified as lions, are frequent decorative motifs on the bases of scarabs, and several within this known corpus are accompanied, as is our example, with one or more floral elements. These are generally assigned to the New Kingdom. The presence of a floral motif on our example in addition to the apparent absence of a full mane would suggest that our image was intended to represent a goddess in her leonine manifestation. One can, therefore, tentatively suggest that our image evokes Sakhmet, goddess of Memphis who was associated with ancient Egyptian medical practices.