Griffin Gallery Antiquities

Egyptian Steatite Scarab Necklace, XII Dynasty

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Egyptian: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1223374

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Egyptian Steatite Scarab, XII dynasty 1983 - 1778 BCE, set in 18K contemporary gold with leather choker and small bead of faience. Reverse is name of two Egyptian Pharaohs, Sesostris I and Sesostris III, Hyksos period. Scarabs were popular amulets in ancient Egypt. According to ancient Egyptian myths the sun god, 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. To the ancient Egyptians, the scarab or dung beetle was a protector of written products. The scarab was also used as a holder or medium for personal name seals. A figurine of a scarab would be carved out of stone, and then on the ruff stomach of the scarab, the engraving of a seal was made. Like the impression seal, ancient Egyptians also used the scarab seal to press onto clay. Later, this oval image was used for the representation of the cartouche, or name/title seals. The underside of Scarabs were usually inscribed with the names of important people such as pharaohs. Other times they were inscribed with things such as magical mottos, designs, and pictures of deities, animals and religious pictures.