Scarab amulets were frequently wound into a mummy’s bandages to protect the deceased and ensure rebirth. This scarab is made of gold, a metal strongly associated with the sun. The blue enamel symbolizes the life-giving waters of the Nile.

The ancient Egyptians understood the sun god to manifest himself in multiple forms, chiefly those of Re during the day, the ram-headed Atum in the evening, and the scarab beetle Khepri at dawn. During the sun’s daily journey across the sky he grew old and weary, then was rejuvenated overnight and reborn-young and strong-at sunrise.

Gold and enamel scarab amulet
Gold and enamel scarab amulet

Ptolemaic Period, ca. 332-30 BC. Now in the RISD Museum. 32.242

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