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EJ1612

An Egyptian Bronze Swivel Ring with Scarab Seal, New Kingdom, ca. 1550 - 1069 BC

Pierced longitudinally for attachment, the scarab is finely carved from steatite with traces of an original red and yellow glaze.  On the back, the elytra is divided by a single line, it has v-shaped humeral callosities at either side and is outlined by a thin engraved line. The prothorax is undecorated except for an outline whereas the head and clypeus are well defined and the legs deeply engraved on both sides.  The scarab is pierced lengthwise and mounted as a ring by means of a bronze shank wire that runs through the scarab and is bound at either side.  The base decoration is beautifully incised with a symbolic cartouche of Thutmose III, written sideways and surmounted by a winged sun disc. Below this, the decorative inscription "beloved of Amun-Re, given life". 

For a related example, see Rowe, "A Catalogue of Egyptian Scarabs, Scaraboids, Seals and Amulets in the Palestine Archaeological Museum," Plate II, #S.56-58.

Background:   In ancient Egypt, many amulets, seals and ornaments were made incorporating scarabs or in the shape of a scarab.   The scarab beetle was considered sacred and was personified by Khepri, a sun god associated with resurrection.   In this piece, the theme of resurrection is enforced by the green glaze, as in the ancient Egyptian culture the color green represented new life and rebirth.

Dimensions:   Ring diameter: 1 inch (2.54 cm), Scarab length: 9/16 inch (1.43 cm)

Condition:  Well carved with minor chips to the right tip of the clypeus and front legs, small chip to base and back wing case, otherwise intact and in very good condition overall.

Provenance:   From a collection of Levantine scarabs bought in Israel over the years and later acquired by C.J. Martin, London, thereafter private collection of Geoffrey Metz, Egyptologist and curator of Egyptian antiquities at the Gustavianum Museum, Uppsala University, Sweden, purchased from the London trade in 1995, collection number: M458.

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