Egyptian Steatite Scarab with Symmetrical Hieroglyphs


A steatite Egyptian scarab with incised symmetrical birds and cobras on the reverse. The obverse is decorated with geometric cross-crossing lines for the clypeus, head, and eyes, with a prothorax and elytra both marked with a double line. Its legs are undefined, and instead two lines circulate the edge. On the reverse are symmetrical hieroglyphic signs, at the centre are two falcons facing inwards, both flanked by two uraei, beneath a collar of beads.

Date: 20th century - 16th century BC
Period: Early Middle Kingdom - Second Intermediate Period
Condition: Very fine, repair to reverse near the suspension hole.


SKU: NS-05 Category: Tags: , , ,

Scarab beetles bearing animal figures are often linear or netted in pattern, with deep incisions such as this example. These types of scarabs are dated between the early Middle Kingdom and the end of the Second Intermediate Period. The central animals here are two falcons, facing inwards. Such scarabs, depicting a falcon figure and flanked by the uraeus were exceedingly popular in the Second Intermediate Period. Whilst scarabs from this period had a limited specific meaning, the hieroglyphs depicted suggest artists were very much aware of their apotropaic values. On either side of these birds are two uraei, protective symbols associated with the goddess Wadjet and usually worn on the crown of the king. Dangling above the birds is a beaded collar sign, which here means gold, a metal associated with the sun god Ra.

There are three gods and goddesses represented on this particular scarab, invoked for their protective associations; Horus, Ra and Wadjet.

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

Weight 2.8 g
Dimensions L 1.7 cm

Egyptian Mythology

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Reference: For similar: The British Museum, London, item 104922