Egyptian Steatite Scarab with Hieroglyphs


A steatite Egyptian scarab beetle amulet with incised features such as the prothorax, elytra, femurs and tibia. The reverse is detailed with carved hieroglyphs, including four human figures with one arm raised in invocation. Below them is the ‘neb’ character, symbolising a basket. The amulet is pierced longitudinally for suspension, though the hole is now blocked.

Date: Circa 1070–664 BC
Period: Third Intermediate Period
Provenance: Ex major S.M., London, Collection 1970-2010.
Condition: Very fine. Small chip to the head.


SKU: MG-69 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 formulation of the figures, with stylised bald head and long, striated robes bears similarity to Phoenician scarabs and their human depictions, alluding to a possible Phoenician origin.

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

Weight 1.8 g
Dimensions L 1.7 x W 1.2 x H 0.8 cm