Egyptian Steatite Second Intermediate Scarab


A steatite Egyptian scarab beetle amulet with incised hieroglyphs to the reverse. The obverse features a detailed head, with particular attention paid to the clypeus and eyes. The arched back has been left relative free of markings, with only two small indentations to the sides to indicate the unfurled wings. The reverse features three clear hieroglyphs, placed vertically in the centre of the scarab. To the top is a ‘nefer’ sign, translating as ‘good’ or ‘beautiful. Following on is a simple scarab beetle, ‘kheper’ and the raised arms of the ‘ka’ sign. Intermittent scroll patterns acts as filler ornamentation.

The amulet is pierced longitudinally for suspension.

Date: Circa 1700–1500 BC
Period: Second Intermediate Period, Dynasty 13 to 17
Provenance: Ex major S.M., London, Collection 1970-2010.
Condition: Very fine, clear precise hieroglyphs. Some evidence of glaze still remaining.


SKU: AH-1030 Category: Tags: ,

Such scarabs, designed with symmetric compositions of hieroglyphs and scrolls were exceedingly popular in the Second Intermediate Period, produced from 1700 – 1500 BC. This period is marked by Hyksos rule in Egypt and such scarabs show a definite Canaanite aesthetic. Whilst scarabs from this period had a limited specific meaning, the hieroglyphs depicted suggest artists were very much aware of their apotropaic values.

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

Weight 1.51 g
Dimensions L 1.6 x W 1.1 cm