Egyptian Steatite Scarab with Hierakosphinx


A large ancient Egyptian steatite scarab from the Second Intermediate Period, with incised motif to the reverse. The obverse depicts a stylised head and humeral callosities. The reverse features an unusual scene detailing a large standing sphinx, with a falcon head, known as a hierakosphinx. The mythical animal is depicted wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, the Pschent. There is a small uraeus at his feet.

The scarab has been pierced longitudinally for suspension.

Date: Circa 1650–1550 BC
Period: Second Intermediate Period
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. Some glaze remaining. Hairline but stable cracks.


SKU: AH-1151 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.

The hierakosphinx was a term coined by Herodotus and related specifically to the mythical part-hawk, part-lion beast that was depicted on Egyptian sculpture. Horus the Elder was most often depicted as a hierakosphinx. Sphinxes were a potent, apotropaic symbol in ancient Egypt, linked to the strength and power of the pharaoh. Within the artistic repetoire, the shpinx was depicted in a number of ways, including: as a crowned pharaoh; as a falcon-headed figure; or as a ram-headed representation of the god Amun-Re.

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

Weight 3.47 g
Dimensions L 2 x W 1.35 cm

Egyptian Mythology



Reference: For an early depiction of the same theme: The Isreal Museum, Jerusalem, item 76.31.2892