Egyptian Steatite Scarab with Animal Figures


A steatite Egyptian scarab with an incised falcon and two uraei on the reverse. The obverse is decorated with incised lines to mark the clypeus, head, and eyes, with a defined prothorax and elytra marked with a double line. On the reverse, at the centre, is a deeply incised falcon stood atop a ‘neb’ basket and flanked by two uraei, facing central. The figures are enclosed by an incised line. The amulet is pierced through the centre for suspension.

Date: 20th century - 16th century BC
Period: Early Middle Kingdom - Second Intermediate Period
Condition: Very fine condition, scratches to the obverse


SKU: NS-04 Category: Tags: , , ,

Scarab beetles bearing animal figures are often linear or netted in pattern, with deep incisions. These types of scarabs are dated between the early Middle Kingdom and the end of the Second Intermediate Period. The central animals here are two falcons, facing inwards. Such scarabs, depicting a falcon figure and flanked by the uraeus were exceedingly popular in the Second Intermediate Period. Whilst scarabs from this period had a limited specific meaning, the hieroglyphs depicted suggest artists were very much aware of their apotropaic values.

In the case of this scarab beetle, the animals here- the falcon and the cobra- represent the king. These images are also equated with certain deities, with the falcon being associated with Horus and the cobra Wadjet. The uraeus serpent – a cobra in an attack stance- is a symbol typically used by the royal family for protection and worn on the front of crowns. These serpents can spit venom, which was seen as a liquid form of fire in ancient Egypt, and therefore hold the role of burning the foes of the king. As burning rid any living thing of its afterlife, they were considered incredibly powerful beings that could destroy an enemy forever.

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

Weight 3 g
Dimensions L 1.8 cm

Egyptian Mythology




Reference: For similar: The British Museum, London, item EA3766