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Scarab Amulet
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Scarab Amulet

Description Provenance Inscription Credit
Description The ancient Egyptians believed that the dung beetle, the Scarabaeus sacer, was one of the manifestations of the sun god. Representations of these beetles were used as amulets, and for ritual or administrative purposes. The bottom of this scarab displays a short, vertical inscription in an oval frame, which refers to the appearance of the sun god. It is enclosed by eight elongated, Z-shaped, interlocked spiral scroll elements. The numerical arrangement of the eight spiral scrolls is: 1+2x3+1 = 8. The bottom inscription and spiral décor is very precise and regularly incised, and the layout very well organized and symmetrically arranged. The highest point of the back is the partition between pronotum (dorsal plate of the prothorax) and elytron (wing cases), which is also defined by two short side-notches at shoulder height. As additional decoration run two deeply incised branches from the head to the middle of the elytron where they cross each other and end in one lotus blossom. The trapezoidal head is flanked by rectangular eyes; the side plates are irregular trapezoidal, and the clypeus (front plate) has five frontal serrations, and a central base notch. The raised, slender extremities have natural form and vertical hatch lines for the tibial teeth and pilosity (hair). The long-oval base is symmetrically. The scarab is longitudinally pierced, was originally mounted or threaded, and functioned as an amulet. It should secure the presence and renewal of the sun god, and for a private owner his divine support and renewal (eight spiral scrolls). The head and the back design with branches secure the dating in the 13th-15th dynasty.
Provenance Prof. Newberry (?); Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1911, by purchase (?); Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Translation] The Ka of Re appears.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1911 (?)

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1794-1539 BCE (Late Middle Kingdom-early Second Intermediate Period)
light beige steatite (originally glazed)
(Precious Stones & Gems)
Accession Number
H: 13/16 x W: 1/2 x D: 5/16 in. (2 x 1.3 x 0.8 cm)
  • Egypt (Place of Origin)
  • Israel and Palestine (Canaan) (Place of Origin)


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