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EA1302

An Egyptian Lapis Lazuli Scarab, 18th Dynasty, ca 1550 - 1295 BC

Scarabs were popular amulets in ancient Egypt. According to ancient Egyptian myth, the sun (Ra) rolls across the sky each day and transforms bodies and souls. "Modeled upon the Scarabaeidae family,  dung beetle,  which rolls dung into a ball for the purposes of eating and laying eggs that are later transformed into larva, the scarab was seen as an earthly symbol of this heavenly cycle of sun and rebirth." Further, they were usually carved from Lapis Lazuli, as its  deep, celestial blue remains the symbol of royalty and honor, gods and power, spirit and vision. It is a universal symbol of wisdom and truth.  I n the dry, barren land of the Egyptians, this deep cobalt blue color was both a physical and spiritual contrast to their arid desert hues. "The gold flecks were like stars in their night-time sky and by meditating on these colors they felt supernatural forces would transform their lives. The garments of priests and royalty were dyed with Lapis to indicate their status as gods themselves." 

This example is particularly lovely for it features a deep, rich shade of this rare cobalt stone, it is sculpted in the round, bears an incised pattern on the belly and is pierced cross-wise for attachment. 

References:   Andrews, Carol, 1994.  Amulets of Ancient Egypt,  chapter 4:  Scarabs for the living and funerary scarabs,  pp 50-59, Andrews, Carol, c 1993, University of Texas Press.

Katrina Raphaell, Crystal Enlightenment   (Santa Fe, NM: Aurora Press, 1985)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art,  Accession Number  15.3.217. 

Condition:  Intact with expected deposits, overall a fine example.   

Dimensions:   Height 1.95 cm (3/4 inch), Width 1.2 cm (1/2 inch)

Provenance:   Private Maryland collection, acquired in the 1960's.

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