Egyptian Glazed Steatite Scarab with a Blessing to Ra


A fine, ancient Egyptian, steatite scarab with a beautiful deep turquoise glaze, with hieroglyphs to the reverse.  The obverse is moulded with detailed anatomical incisions and features a smooth clypeus, small oblong head, rounded plate, and elytra detailed by two lines. The reverse side is inscribed with stylised hieroglyphs. To the left is a oval sun disk, alluding to the god Ra. In the centre is a rudimentary crown hieroglyph, which in this instance would transliterate as ‘n’. This sign would usually refer to the red crown of Lower Egypt, as an apotropaic symbol, but is used as ‘n’ from the 18th Dynasty. To the right is a basic tall water jar,  transliterated as ‘hs’, which translates as ‘praise’. In conjunction these three signs would read ‘hs n Ra’, and are thereby translated as ‘praised by Ra’. The two signs at the top and bottom of the scarab are the familiar ‘nb’ basket signs. Often used as filler hieroglyphs for aesthetic purposes, the sign does also translate as ‘lord’. The scarab is pierced for suspension.


Date: Circa 664-332 BC
Period: Late Period
Provenance: Ex North London, UK, gentleman, 1990s.
Condition: Excellent condition. The scarab is wholly intact and the hieroglyphs are still clearly pronounced.


SKU: MJ-09 Category: Tags: ,

Scarabs are amongst the most popular and most numerous of all Ancient Egyptian artefacts and were often associated with funerary contexts. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the Scarabaeus Beetle had the ability to spontaneously regenerate itself from cow dung. Consequently, the scarab came to be associated with the cyclical nature of the natural life cycle. The motif of a scarab beetle pushing a round ball of dung also came to represent the sun god Ra pushing the sun across the sky every day.

Ra was the ancient Egyptian god of the sun. He was believed to rule the sky, the earth and the underworld and thus became one of the most important gods within the Egyptian pantheon. He was often depicted as a man with a falcon head, bearing similarities to the god Horus. In later dynastic times the two were often merged to form Ra-Horakhty. During the New Kingdom Ra was often fused with Amun, to form Amun-Ra. As an important deity, holding dominion over both the godly and earthly realms, Ra was associated with pharaonic power. It was believed he was the first pharaoh and thus was the protector of kings.

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

Weight 1.3 g
Dimensions L 1.35 x W 1.0 x H 0.70 cm

Egyptian Mythology



Reference: For a similar blessing: The British Museum, London

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