Thursday, 21 April 2011
Egypt's ancient amulet, the scarab
Group of Egyptian scarabs, made of green glazed steatite in naturalistic style, of the XVIIIth dynasty.
In Ancient Egypt the scarab dung beetle represented through its round egg pellet the image of the sun and its course through the heavens, also the Egyptian god Khepri.
Through about 3000 years scarabs became many and varied, they were used as seals, jewellery, talismen, grave goods, gifts of affection, and currency, etc. They were generally made from steatite (stone) which was glazed with a blue glass-glaze,and some of the earliest ones from ivory. Under later dynasties they were made from faience, carnelian, yellow jasper, lapis, amethyst and other hard stones. In Greece seal -scarabs went on being made for some time but in Egypt they seem to disappear suddenly at the close of the XXVIth dynasty. Nowadays many forgeries of scarabs are made, and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between these and the genuine article.