Egyptian Steatite Scarab Dedicated to Sekhaenre
A glossy, brown hardstone Egyptian scarab with stylised head and incised hieroglyphs to the reverse. The obverse features a simplified head and clypeus, with slight indentations to indicate the humeral callosities. To the reverse is a central vertical band of hieroglyphs which form the nomen of King Sekhaenre. To the top are the two signs ‘nefer’ 𓄤 and ‘ntr’ 𓊹, which translates as ‘perfect god’. Following below these two signs is a round sun disk 𓇳, a linear sign described as a ‘door knob’ 𓊃, rays of sun over the hills 𓈍, an outstretched arm and hand 𓂝, and a final undulating water ripple 𓈖. Visually such signs are hard to distinguish from their description, but they would transliterate as ‘s ḫꜥ n rꜥ’. With added vowels this would be written Sekhaenre. As is usual with scarab cartouches, the sun disk does not appear at the end of the list but rather at the top.
The scarab has been pierced longitudinally for suspension.
Circa 1805–1780 BCPeriod:
Second Intermediate PeriodProvenance:
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. Small dent to the obverse.
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.
Sekhaenre is the nomen given to a pharaoh, from the Second Intermediate Period, most likely from the 14th Dynasty. He is also given the prenomen Yakbim but the two names do not appear together. They are generally believed to belong to one king, based on the similarities of the scarabs. The name Sekhaenre does not appear within a cartouche but is preceded by the epithet, ‘perfect god’. The second highest number of scarabs and seals belonging to a Second Intermediate king belong to Sekhaenre, at around 123, just behind the 300 plus belonging to the pharaoh Sheshi.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings.