The scarab’s association with the daily rebirth of the young sun god, Khepri, gave the beetle a prominent role in funerary contexts. Since the sun was thought to die each night and be reborn each morning as a scarab beetle, it was beneficial to the deceased to harness these powers so he or she could be reborn into the afterlife. The carved stone scarab was inscribed with a spell from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, entreating the heart to speak well of the deceased so he might be allowed into the afterlife. The scarab was then placed within the mummy’s wrappings, usually over the heart.
Unlike it’s 13th century counterparts, this particular scarab is a more recent tribute, estimated to be from the mid to late 19th century. It was likely an offering to the well-healed adventurers on their Grand Tour. The beetle carapace is unique among the stone heart scarabs I’ve seen in that it is almost entirely open, framed by the curves of two enormous snakes. Snakes were associated with several deities in the Old Kingdom, but in this context they likely represent the sun god, Ra, calling upon his ability to be reborn with each new day. The open work carving implies the heart freely open to examination by the Keeper of Balance. The hieroglyphs on the base represent the spell from the Book of the Dead.
This scarab measures 4 inches long and just under 3 inches wide. He’s in lovely condition, showing the marks of time and touch, but no damage to the stone. It is carved limestone and weighs 9 ounces overall. Our pieces are treated with respect, properly boxed and protected for shipping. Please take your time with the photos and consider them part of the description. Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to check out the many treasures available in my shop!
4 x 2.9 inches