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.
Such scarabs were exceedingly popular in the Second Intermediate Period, produced from 1700 – 1500 BC. This period is marked by Hyksos rule in Egypt and such scarabs show a definite Canaanite aesthetic. Whilst scarabs from this period had a limited specific meaning, the hieroglyphs depicted suggest artists were very much aware of their apotropaic values. Canaanite artists would have been very aware of the importance of depicting the god Horus, alongside the ureaus and the floral emblems for Upper and Lower Egypt.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings.