Winged Scarab Beetle Amulet
This winged scarab beetle amulet is made of electrum. The wings are not those of a beetle, but those of a bird, as is apparent by their shape and the indication of individual feathers. Winged scarabs, meant to guarantee the rebirth of the deceased, were very popular funerary amulets.
A series of animals depicting deities connected with the funerary world were arranged on the breast of the mummy. Anubis, the jackal-headed god of mummification, protected the body. Thoth the ibis, god of writing associated with Maat, goddess of justice, recorded the weighing of the heart in the Tribunal of Osiris, where the actions of the deceased were judged.
In ancient Egypt, the winged scarab amulet held great significance. It was believed to possess protective and transformative powers. The amulet, typically made of materials like stone or faience, featured the image of a scarab beetle with wings. This symbol represented the sun god, Re, and was associated with rebirth and eternal life.
The dung beetle is one of the most widespread symbols of Egyptian iconography and one of the most widely attested amulets from the First Intermediate Period (ca. 2118-1980 BC) to the Roman Period (ca. 30 BC-395 AD), in the most diverse materials.
Used either by the living as seals or as objects with celebratory value, or to accompany the deceased, scarab-shaped amulets can be as small as a few centimeters, or as large as 10 cm.
The winged scarab was a significant symbol in ancient Egypt. It represented the sun god, Re, and was associated with rebirth and protection.
The winged scarab amulet was often placed on the chest of the deceased during mummification to provide protection in the afterlife.
The scarab beetle itself was considered sacred and was believed to have the power of transformation and renewal. The addition of wings to the scarab symbolized the ability to transcend earthly limitations and ascend to higher realms.
The winged scarab was often depicted in amulets, jewelry, and tomb decorations, emphasizing its importance in Egyptian culture and religious beliefs.
Third Intermediate Period, 22nd Dynasty, ca. 945-712 BC. Made of electrum. Length: 4.9 cm. From Tomb 314 at Meidum. Now in the Penn Museum, Philadelphia. 30-1-311