Silver Winged Scarab Amulet

This silver winged scarab is inlaid with lapis lazuli, red jasper and green feldspar. It seems to have been fixed to a larger object since there are fasteners on the back side.

The winged scarab was a powerful image of solar rebirth for the deceased. Amulets in the form of scarab beetles had become enormously popular in Ancient Egypt by the early Middle Kingdom (approx. 2000 BC) and remained popular for the rest of the pharaonic period and beyond.

Silver Winged Scarab Amulet
Silver Winged Scarab Amulet. Photo: Kenneth Garrett

In Ancient Egypt, the scarab was a symbol of resurrection, therefore it was strictly connected to rebirth in the Afterlife. Similar amulets were placed on mummies, positioned on the heart, in order to protect this organ. In fact, ancient Egyptians believed that the heart of a person should have weighted like the feather of an ostrich (symbol of the goddess of justice Maat), to ensure that the deceased reached the Afterlife safe and sound.

Mummy scarabs are amulets only used in the mortuary cult. What makes them remarkable is that not only the rear view is detailed, but the underside with the legs was also worked. These scarabs were placed in the mummy wrappings.

Ptolemaic Period, ca. 305-30 BC. Dendera Treasure. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 46356