Winged Scarab Pectoral of Tutankhamun

This beautiful winged scarab pectoral illustrates the throne name of King Tutankhamun, “Neb- khepreu-re.” The central element is the scarab “Khepri” made of a fine piece of lapis lazuli, and three strokes of plural “sign in hieroglyphs” below it. Between the forelegs of the scarab, the risen sun disk “Re” is depicted.

The pectoral is made of a clear red carnelian set in gold, which represents what, in nature, was the ball of mud and dung containing its eggs that was rolled forward by the beetle. Beneath the plural strokes “sign in hieroglyphs” is a basket shape “Neb” inlaid with turquoise.

Winged Scarab Pectoral of Tutankhamun
Winged Scarab Pectoral of Tutankhamun
Photo: Andreas F. Voegelin

The wings that are often added to the scarab represent Re, the god of the rising sun. They sweep round to form an almost complete circle, enveloping the royal name and offering it divine protection.

Khepri is the god of creation, rebirth and the rising of the sun. The scarab pushes the sun disc above the horizon and sits on a neb (i.e., basket) sign―signifying its divine nature―supported by three strokes of plural sign, perhaps meaning ‘triple.’

New Kingdom, late 18th Dynasty, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1332-1323 BC. From Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62), Valley of the Kings, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 61886

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