Collecting Masterpieces
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Ancient Egypt
RARE LARGE SCARAB
Third intermediate / Late period (1077 ­- 332 BC)

 

Object :
Nº 672
Medium :
Stone
Dimensions :
Length: 3.5 cm (1.1")

Large beetle in frit, mounted into a brooch with a yellow gold setting from the 19th century. The Egyptians carved small objects out of soapstone, a very tender stone, similar to talc. They would cover the objects in a siliceous glaze, also called frit. This is indeed one of the few stones that does not shrink during firing and on which glaze adheres. Over time, the glaze often disappears, revealing the baked stone underneath. The base has a casing that often recounts an episode characteristic of the life of the deceased individual. Very good state of preservation.

The beetle fascinated the Egyptians, who did not understand its mode of reproduction. They attributed to this insect the power of a primordial god, resembling Khepri, the deity of the rising sun. Khepri was an essential figure in the funerary cult of Egypt. For the living, the beetle was a particularly beneficial amulet, endowed with the breath of life that was renewed daily; the “flat” section of the coleopteran was often adorned with hieroglyphics either of a symbol or a royal name that possessed significant protective properties.