Egyptian Steatite Scarab Set in a Gold Frame


A delicate steatite Egyptian scarab set in a gold frame. The obverse has a vaguely moulded clypeus and head, whilst incised indentations mark the humeral callosities. The scarab is pierced longitudinally for suspension. The reverse is inscribed with 3 hieroglyph signs, including a bird and an ‘ankh’ sign. The bird is most likely a falcon, representing Horus. The two signs often appear together on scarabs. The scarab would have been part of a swivel ring, most likely made of bronze, which has now been lost.

Date: Circa 1550–1070 BC
Period: New Kingdom
Provenance: The property of a deceased female collector, UK, bought from the 1930’s-70s.
Condition: Fine condition. General signs of wear on the scarab consistent with age.

In stock

SKU: XJ-55 Category: Tags: , ,

The ancient Egyptian scarab is linked to the mythological death and rebirth of the sun god. The hieroglyphic sign represented by the dung beetle 𓆣, forms the ancient Egyptian verb “ḫpr” (Kheper) meaning “to come into being”. The same sign also represents the deified morning sun -Khepri, who was thought to be reborn every morning in the form of the scarab beetle, bringing light and life to the land. They were made in various typology such as heart scarabs, commemorative scarabs, and scarab amulets, thus catering to different functions. Scarab amulets were believed to have magical rejuvenating properties, used by both the living and the dead.

Scarabs could be carved from relatively expensive stones, such as  amethyst, jasper, carnelian, and lapis  lazuli and also cheaper materials such as steatite, which would be glazed later on, faience and glass. Scarab amulets had an enduring appeal – adopted by many other cultures as good luck charms, including the Greeks, Romans and the Phoenicians.

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

Weight 0.81 g
Dimensions L 1.2 x W 0.8 cm




Reference: For a similar frame,The Metropolitan Museum, New York, item 16.10.390

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