Egyptian Diorite Funerary Scarab


A beautiful Egyptian funerary scarab, carved in mottled, black and cream diorite. The scarab is naturalistically modelled, with the back enhanced by engraved parallel lines. The amulet displays defined sculptural details including the carapace and clypeus of the beetle. The amulet is pierced through the an additional lug, attached to the underside of its prothorax. A large example and beautifully carved.

Date: Circa 664-5252 B.C.
Period: Late Period
Provenance: From an early 20th century collection, Home Counties, UK, 1930-1940s
Condition: Very fine condition

In stock

SKU: GW-06 Category: Tags: , ,

The scarab served as a symbol of rebirth and renewal for the ancient Egyptian. Within ancient Egypt, the scarab was worshipped for its association with the sun, as well as the sun deity, Khepri, whom the ancient Egyptians believed brought light and vitality to the country. The biological behaviour of the scarab rolling large balls of dung was associated to the rising of the sun, as passed through the sky from east to west.

Diorite, as a hard rock, was extremely difficult to sculpt. It was used in the Early Dynastic and Old Kingdoms for vases. Later this altered and the material was used more for sculpture and large architectural pieces. The Romans exported the material, taking advantage of Egypt’s natural resources.

Amulets in this shape were very popular in ancient Egypt, from the old kingdom to the Roman periods. They were worn by the living and also buried with the dead, as their apotropaic significance suited both. Funerary scarabs such as this were placed within the wrapping of the mummy on various parts of the body. Although the precise function of funerary scarabs has yet been specified, its significance as a symbol of protection is widely agreed.

To discover more about amulets in the Ancient Egyptian world, please visit our relevant post: Amulets in Ancient Egypt.

Weight 8.7 g
Dimensions L 2.1 x W 1.8 x H 0.7 cm



Reference: For similar: Liverpool World Museum, UK, item M14174a

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