Very small scarab made of faience glazed a dark blue-green with black detail. Most likely used as an amulet or seal.
Scarab beetles held special meaning for ancient Egyptians. Scarab beetles are also known as “dung beetles” because they fashion balls of dung in which they lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the young feed on the dung until they emerge as beetles. Egyptians believed that a great celestial beetle rolled the sun across the sky, just as the scarab beetles rolled balls of dung into their nests. Even more miraculous was the sudden appearance of swarms of young beetles from the dung balls! Ancient Egyptians didn’t know the adult beetles were laying eggs in the dung balls, and ascribed marvelous powers of self-generation to the beetles. The Egyptian name for this beetle - “Kheper” - also served as the verb “to become” in Egyptian language.
In the Middle Kingdom (1980-1630 B.C.E.) scarabs were carved of stone with names to create seals. The seals were used to stamp documents and other property with the name of the owner. Later, in New Kingdom (1539-1075 B.C.E) scarabs were used mostly as good luck charms, with light-hearted slogans like “Happy New Year” or “May your children reproduce!”
1552 CE – 1069 BCE
0.25" h 0.25" w 0.3" d
Current Location Status:
Mysteries of Egypt (November 21 1999 – March 26 2000) Mysteries of Egypt was a traveling exhibit organized by the Canadian Museum of Civilization in the 1990s. It featured authentic and reproduction artifacts from ancient Egypt.