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EJ1501

An Egyptian Steatite Design Scarab, Late 2IP - 18th Dynasty, ca 1720-1295 BC

carved from steatite, with naturalistically rendered legs, pierced horizontally for suspension.   Functioning as an amulet, the base is finely incised with symbols chosen for their potency for the owner.  At the top, a nefer sign (meaning “goodness” or “perfection”) is flanked by two ankh (“life”) signs.  In the middle, two symmetrical udjat eyes symbolize “wholeness.”  A central djed sign at the bottom (meaning “stability”) is flanked by two Red Crowns that have no discernible meaning so were probably space fillers.  Together,  this design imbued the owner with these qualities—perfection, life, wholeness, and stability.   Vintage mount as a swivel ring, atypical of ancient design, where two wires pass through the perforation and terminate as a spiral on the shoulder of the plain hoop. 

Background:  The ancient Egyptians believed the dung beetle,  Scarabaeus sacer, was one of the manifestations of Khepri, the sun god associated with resurrection. Representations of these beetles were used as amulets, and for ritual or administrative purposes.  

Condition:  The scarab is intact and in excellent condition overall.  With modern custom mount as a ring.

Dimensions:  Scarab Length: 2 cm, (0.78 inch)  

Provenance:   Private California collection, acquired in the early 1970's

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