Dimensions: 0.750" (1.9cm) wide
Collection: Egyptian antiquities
Style: Middle Kingdom
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. Its head, plate, and clypeus are well defined, but the separation of the thorax from the elytra, or wing case, is only indicated by a triangular notch on either side of the body.
The bottom of our scarab is decorated with a series of hieroglyphs approximately arranged in two registers. At the top, a single ankh-sign occupies the center and this is flanked to the left and right by a uraeus, or sacred cobra, beneath each of which is a single neb-sign. At the bottom, corresponding to the position of the ankh-sign, is a kheper-beetle over the hieroglyph for the letter “r”, and these two are flanked to the left and right by a single ankh-sign.
Such scarabs are traditionally assigned to the Middle Kingdom.
Interpretation kindly provided by Prof. Robert S. Bianchi. - (LO.1140)