Egyptian Blue Faience Scarab


An Egyptian scarab moulded from vivid Egyptian blue faience, with hieroglyphs to the reverse. The obverse features simple detailing, to depict the head and humeral callosities. The reverse features recognisable hieroglyphs in a symmetrical pattern, across two registers. In each register there is an ‘ankh’ sign to the centre, flanked on either side by a floral ‘sedge’ sign.  It was common for the late Middle Kingdom scarabs to combine symbols, without a specific meaning, used instead for their apotropaic value.

The scarab has been pierced longitudinally for suspension.

Date: Circa 1700–1550 BC
Period: Late Middle Kingdom - Second Intermediate Period
Provenance: Ex private UK collection, Mr. DP, formerly acquired from a London dealership, BL, from 2004-2012.
Condition: Very fine condition to the obverse and reverse. Vivid Egyptian blue coloured faience. Chip to the reverse near the suspension hole.

In stock

SKU: AH-1156 Category: Tags: , ,

The scarab beetle was an exceedingly popular symbol in the art of Ancient Egypt, thought to represent the sun god, Ra. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the scarab beetle rolling its ball of dung across the desert mirrored the journey of the sun across the sky from day to night. As the beetle laid its eggs within the dung, it became a symbol of rebirth and regeneration.

Egyptian blue was a synthetic blue pigment created by the ancient Egyptians and used from as early as the 4th Dynasty, up until the Roman period. For the Egyptians the colour blue was associated with the sky, with the waters of the Nile and with the gods. It was associated with life and the rejuvenation that came from the yearly inundation and the primeval flood. Natural blue pigments came from semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli and turquoise, which were prized for their rarity. The pigments were used extensively for the pharaohs and to depict the gods. A synthetic material, that was infinitely less expensive, but was still valued, was priceless. Egyptian blue was used to colour faience, was used to paint scenes on wall paintings, colour wood and stone. The main blue colourant is copper and the tone of Egyptian blue could vary from deep rich to a more cool, icy toned colour.

To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings. 

Weight 1.42 g
Dimensions L 1.6 x W 1.2 cm