Egyptian Steatite Scarab with Hieroglyphs


A steatite Egyptian scarab with incised hieroglyphs to the reverse. The moulded obverse features a detailed clypeus, head and protruding notched legs, whilst single inscribed lines have been used to depict the prothorax and elytra. Incised indentations mark the humeral callosities. The scarab is decorated to the reverse with various hieroglyphs. At the top is a vulture, displayed with outspread wings. Below the animal is a central scarab flanked symmetrically by a feather of Ma’at and an ankh sign. The scarab is pierced longitudinally for suspension.

Date: 1550-1070 BC
Period: New Kingdom Period
Provenance: Acquired 1980s-1990s. Private collection of H.N., Milton Keynes, Berkshire, UK.
Condition: Very fine condition, with defined hieroglyphs and anatomical features. Minor chip to the obverse.


SKU: CY-107 Category: Tags: , , ,

The scarab was synonymous with regeneration and the continuous life cycle. The ancient Egyptians believed the Scarabeus Beetle was able to regenerate itself spontaneously from cow dung, which these beetles could be observed rolling into small balls and burying. Consequently, the scarab came to symbolise a spontaneous continuation of the life cycle. The Egyptians regarded the scarab as an embodiment of the creator god, who was accordingly self-engendered.

The vulture was a sacred bird, emblematic of the goddess Mut. She is often depicted wearing the feathers of a vulture as a headdress or as wings at her back. She was a principle deity, wife of the solar-god Amun and thus labelled as the mother of all gods. She is often seen wearing the double grown of Egypt, showing her unification of the land. In vulture form however, she was also associated with Nekhbet; the patron deity of Upper Egypt who was also represented as a vulture.

The feather sign is the symbol of Ma’at; the Egyptian goddess and personification of truth, harmony, law and justice. She was often depicted wearing an ostrich feather, symbol of truth. She was especially important within the afterlife and the ‘Weighing of the Heart’ ceremony, when the heart of the deceased was measured against Ma’at’s feather.

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

Weight 20.3 g
Dimensions L 1.5 x W 1.1 x H 0.8 cm

Egyptian Mythology

, ,



Reference: For a similar item,The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, accession number 76.31.3022.

You may also like…