Winged Scarab Pendant of Tutankhamun

This winged scarab pendant of cloisonné technique is inlaid with semiprecious stones and colored glass. The central element of the pendant is a scarab of Libyan desert glass, grasping on one side a lotus and on the other a papyrus flower, flanked by two uraei, or cobras. A gold frame outlines the main composition and supports pendants of lotus flowers, papyrus, and poppy seed heads.

A slim solar boat rests upon the front feet of the scarab and carries the wadjet or Eye of Horus. It is flanked by two uraei or rearing cobras. The wadjet eye is surmounted by a lunar crescent of gold and a silver disk with images of the gods. Thoth and Ra-Horakhty can be seen crowning the central figure of king Tutankhamun.

Winged Scarab Pendant of Tutankhamun. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 61884
Winged Scarab Pendant of King Tutankhamun. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 61884
Photo: Cris Bouroncle

“The center of this intricate pectoral is adorned with a green chalcedony scarab set in the body of a falcon: it symbolizes the sun. The front paws and [tips of the wings] of this composite creature support a celestial boat containing the left eye of Horus ― the emblem of the moon ― crowned by a silver moon disk with a crescent in gold. The pharaoh is depicted in the disk flanked by the moon god Thoth and by the sun god Ra-Horakhty in a protective pose.

Flowers and buds of papyrus and lotus plants, the emblems of Upper and Lower Egypt, form the base of the pectoral.”

The Illustrated Guide to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, by Daniela Comand, The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo, Egypt, 2001

The central element of the pendant is a scarab of Libyan desert glass, grasping on one side a lotus and on the other a papyrus flower, flanked by two uraei, or cobras.
The central element of the pendant is a scarab of Libyan desert glass, grasping on one side a lotus and on the other a papyrus flower, flanked by two uraei, or cobras.
Winged scarab pendant of Tutankhamun with solar and lunar emblem
Winged scarab pendant of Tutankhamun with solar and lunar emblem

Among the treasures discovered in King Tut’s tomb is an elaborate necklace with pectoral a central scarab carved from a canary-yellow material called Libyan Desert glass. Found in the sand dunes of Egypt’s western desert. The glass was formed about 29 million years ago when a quantity of quartz melted at a temperature in excess of 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hotter than the inside of a volcano. Scholars have long debated whether the yellow glass was created by a meteor that exploded above ground or by a meteorite impact.

From the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62), Valley of the Kings, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 61884