Dimensions: 0.750" (1.9cm) 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. 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. Its head together with its eyes and its plate and clypeus are well-articulated. Its thorax and elytra, or wing case, are treated as a single unit, unusually decorated with a raised, reticulated pattern of lozenges formed by the intersection of diagonally incised lines.
A single, large male figure, to the right, fills the field on the scarab’s flat bottom. He is depicted wearing a belted kilt and his hair is closely cropped. One arm is held along the side of his body while the other is bent at the elbow and raised in the air with its hand holding a floral attribute, perhaps to be identified as a papyrus stem. The field to the left is occupied by a second floral element whereas a vessel over a uraeus, or sacred cobra, fills the field in front of the figure’s legs. A stylized sign, perhaps to be understood as the nefer-sign, is found in the space between his two legs.