Egyptian Steatite Scarab Dedicated to Sobekhotep IV


A large scarab with detailing to the obverse to showcase the head, prothorax and elytra. The reverse is detailed and inscribed with hieroglyphs around and within a cartouche, which sits in the bottom right-hand corner. The cartouche features two important signs, which allow us to assign the scarab to a specific pharaoh. At the top of the cartouche is a recumbent crocodile, 𓆊, which would transliterate as ‘sbk’. Underneath is another important sign, described as a loaf on a mat, 𓊵, it transliterates as ‘ḥtp’. Together they form the king’s name, Sobekhotep. The surrounding hieroglyphs around the cartouche provide further details to the kings genealogy, by specifically naming his mother.

The hieroglyphs transliterate as

Sꜣ rꜥ sbk ḥtp ms n nsw mwt k m

𓅭 𓇳 𓆊 𓊵 𓄟 𓈖 𓇓𓅐 𓎡 𓅓

Sa ra (son of Ra) (sobekhotep)[cartouche] ms (born) n (of) nesu (king’s ) mwt (mother) k m

Translated as:

Son of Ra, Sobekhotep, born of the King’s mother, Kema

From the name of the Pharaoh and his mother, we can ascertain that the scarab was dedicated to Sobekhotep IV, of the 13th Dynasty. The scarab has been pierced longitudinally for suspension. An exceptionally rare scarab.

Date: Circa 1731–1719 BC
Period: Middle Kingdom
Provenance: 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. Chip to the reverse to the right side. Cartouche mostly still visible.


SKU: AH-1155 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.

Sobekhotep IV was one of the more powerful kings of the Thirteenth Dynasty. From stelae records, his birthplace was the city of Thebes. His mother, as attested by our scarab, was known as Kemi, whilst his father was Haankhef. Both parents were given royal epithets by their Royal, ruling sons, so it is not clear what their positions were prior to this. Sobekhotep ruled for approximately 8 years and seems to have built rather extensively. Stelae and monuments have been found at Karnak with his cartouche. It seems however that whilst he ruled Memphis, Middle Egypt and Thebes, he did not hold dominion over Upper Thebes. It is slightly contested as to who did, but Egypt was not a united country under one pharaoh at the time of Sobekhotep’s rule. It is believed he was buried at Abydos, with one tomb found belonging to a Sobekhotep.

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

Weight 7.05 g
Dimensions L 2.6 x W 1.7 cm



Reference: For similar: The Metropolitan Museum, New York, item 22.1.423