Last Item-------------------Next Item

Egypt - New Kingdom

Description: Steatite scarab in gold mount, with simple details and piercing for suspension. Face of scarab engraved with double crowns of Lower Egypt and "Amun"
Period: New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, 1550-1077 BC.
Size: 18 x 12 x6 mm


Among the many amulets and ornaments worn by the ancient Egyptians during the historic period, the most important are the scarabs. These littlc objects are made of stone or glazed ware and are in the form of the scarabaeus-beetle (hence the modern name of scarab). The actual beetles appear to have been sacred in the prehistoric times, for they have been found, carefully preserved, in many of the early graves. The scarabaeus is a dung beetle ; it lays its egg in the droppings of animals, then rolls the dung into a ball and pushes the ball with its hind-legs into a hole in the ground. These beetles can be seen in full activity in any part of Upper Egypt in a sunny place over which animals have passed. But the beetles will also lay their eggs in the dead body of one of their companions, and this is perhaps the reason why the scarab was taken by the ancient Egyptians as the emblem of the resurrection, for they saw life coming out of death as the young beetles emerged. Scarabs were at first made of stone-steatite or schist-glazed blue or green. In the Middle Kingdom carnelian and amethyst scarabs were made; as these stones were very hard and difficult to engrave, the base was covered with a gold plate on which the appropriate signs were cut. Cheap scarabs were made in glazed ware, not in stone.

Back to main page