Egyptian Hyksos Period Swivel Ring with Scarab


An ancient Egyptian bronze swivel ring set with a steatite scarab from the Hyksos period. The obverse of the scarab is simple in nature, with a vaguely moulded shape to the clypeus and head. Incised indentations mark the humeral callosities. Delicately feathered legs wrap around the circumference of the base. The scarab has been pierced longitudinally for suspension upon a metal wire, which was curled around a plain, bronze, rounded band. The reverse features a symmetrical pattern consisting of looping lines coming off of a central stem. This is probably a stylised representative of the papyrus reed, which was symbolic of the lower Nile region, in which the Hyksos kingdom was best established.

Swivel rings could have a practical function, the scarab used as a personal seal, or they could simply be decorative and worn for their apotropaic status.

Date: Circa 1750–1550 BC
Period: Hyksos Period, 15th - 17th Dynasty
Provenance: From a Private Dorset collection, 1980s-1990s.
Condition: Very fine condition. There is some patination and encrustation over the metal band but the scarab is still able to swivel on its wire axel. The surface of the scarab itself is slightly eroded with some small speckled indentations. The engraving on the reverse is clearly pronounced and legible.

In stock

SKU: MJ-30 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.

The term ‘Hyksos’ can be traced back to the Egyptian expression ‘heka khasewet’, which means, “rulers of foreign lands”. The Hyksos of the fifteenth Dynasty of Egypt, ruling during the Second Intermediate Period, were thus of non-Egyptian origin, most likely Canaanite. The Hyksos Kingdom was centred in the lower Nile region and Middle Egypt. It was limited in size, never extending south into Upper Egypt, and it had Memphis as its capital. Hyksos scarabs often feature hieroglyphs with no specific translation, but are an amalgamation of apotropaic and culturally important signs. The papyrus plant motif, as seen here, represented renewal and life, but also symbolised the dominion of the Hyksos in Lower Egypt.

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

Weight 10.0 g
Dimensions L 3.6 x W 3.1 x H 1.1 cm




Reference: For similar: The Metropolitan Museum, New York, item 35.3.52

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