Egyptian Small Steatite Scarab Dedicated to Heh


A small Egyptian, steatites, carab with a detailed obverse, considering its size. Attention has been paid to the detailed clypeus and head, whilst single inscribed lines have been used to depict the prothorax and elytra. To the reverse is a finely carved scene, depicting the god Heh, kneeling and clasping a palm branch in each hand. Above him is a small ankh hieroglyph, lying horizontally. This representation, as a kneeling figure wearing a lapette wig and false beard, was typical of the god. Surrounding Heh is a chain-like border, beautifully and symmetrically carved.

The scarab has been pierced longitudinally for suspension.

Date: Circa 1550 - 1070 BC
Period: New Kingdom
Provenance: Ex private UK collection, Mr. DP, formerly acquired from a London dealership, BL, from 2004-2012. Ex Charles Ede Gallery.
Condition: Very fine condition to the obverse and reverse.

In stock

SKU: AH-1152 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 Egyptian god Heh, normally depicted as either a human or with a frog head, was the god of infinity and time. He was commonly depicted kneeling on one knee, with his arms bent and extended outwards holding palm branches. This represented the number one million, which to the Ancient Egyptians was synonymous with infinity. The palm branches were tools used in temples to record the passing of time. Heh was one of the primordial gods of the Ogdoad, the Eightfold, which was comprised of four frog gods and four snake goddesses of chaos. They were worshipped at Hermopolis. They were organised in partnerships of male and female counterparts and their coming together initiated the rising of the sun. Heh was often depicted holding an ‘ankh’ or with the sign close by. Scarabs with the god depicted were used to denote ‘a million years of life’.

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

Weight 1.33 g
Dimensions L 1.6 x W 1.1 cm

Egyptian Mythology



Reference: For similar: The Metropolitan Museum, New York, item 10.130.637