عربي Français
Collection Highlights

Amulet in the form of a winged scarab

Amulet in the form of a winged scarab
© BA Antiquities Museum/E. Omar

Registration Number(s)
BAAM Serial Bibliotheca Alexandrina Antiquities Museum Number 0434

Inv.Inventory
 (Greco-Roman Museum) P.14531

where to find


showcase 4

Amulet in the form of a winged scarab

Category:
  • Religious / Cult objects, amulets, scarab (kheper)
  • Tomb equipment, amulets, scarab (kheper)
Date:
Ancient Egyptian period, Late Period (664-332 BCE)
Provenance:
Unknown
Material(s):
Man made material, faience
Height:
5 cm;
Width:
10.5 cm
Hall:
In the Afterlife, showcase 4


Description

From the 25th Dynasty (c.747-656 BCE) onwards scarab-with-wings amulets were very common. These were almost exclusively made of bright-blue-glazed compositions and were molded with a flat underside. They were pierced by holes around the edge so that they would be stitched over the chest on the mummy wrappings or incorporated with the bead net which enveloped contemporary mummies.

Scarabs

The characteristic behavior of the Egyptian scarab, most commonly found in the western desert, is to roll a large ball of animal dung with its back legs to an underground hiding place where it serves as a foodstuff. Ancient Egyptians related the rolling of the ball of dung to the passage of the sun in the sky each day from east to west pushed by a gigantic beetle!
In addition, scarab eggs were laid in another ball of dung created by the female from sheep excrement; they were also stored in the underground. This second pear-shaped ball would feed the larvae it contains. The Egyptians believed, however, that the baby beetles hatched from the self-same type of dung ball. Thus, the scarab became a symbol of spontaneous generation, new life and, by extension, resurrection.
Accordingly, a scarab-shaped amulet offered the dead hope for new life and resurrection. These magical properties could be enhanced even further by the inscriptions, motifs or pictorial presentations, sometimes added to the flat underside.


The information given here is subject to modification/update as a result of ongoing research.

Bibliography
  • Andrews, Carol. Egyptian Amulets. London: British Museum, 1994.
Discover The Museum Collections