A steatite Egyptian scarab with incised features such as the clypeus, prothorax and elytra marked by single lines. The scarab is decorated to the reverse, depicting a recumbent sphinx to the centre wearing the Atef crown. To the left is a uraeus cobra with outstretched wings in a sign of protection. A sun disk is placed behind the rearing cobra also. To the right of the recumbent sphinx is a seated figure with the head of a lioness, most likely the deity Sekhmet. The amulet is pierced longitudinally for suspension.
Date: Circa 1070–664 BC Period: Third Intermediate Period Provenance: From the Gustave Mustaki collection, a collector of antiquities who amassed a large collection in Alexandria (Egypt). Condition: Very fine. Small chip to the underside.
The sphinx, a mythological creature with the body of a lion and the head of a man, symbolised the king and pharaonic power. The rearing cobra with its wings outstretched offers protection and this is echoed by the seated figure of Sekhmet. The goddess, as a warrior deity, was seen as the protector of pharaohs. Sekhmet was also associated with Ra and was thus a solar deity. All three signs are thus connected, offering the protection of the pharaoh and referencing the apotropaic properties of the sun.
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