EGYPT, New Kingdom

1550-1070 BC
Steatite Scarab. 15 x 11 mm
On base: Lotus flower within stylized border
Pierced in antiquity for suspension.  Small chips and slightly weathered surface. An interesting specimen.

A padded acrylic display capsule is provided free of charge with this item for its safe storage.  

Ex Carl Devries Collection; ex CNG E-381 (24 August 2016), Lot 625 
Dr. Carl Devries (1921-2010) was an archaeologist and Egyptologist who was a member of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. He excavated in Egypt from the early 1950s until his retirement from the university in 1975, and during that time was also part of the 1963-1964 Nubian Expedition. Devries acquired the bulk of his collection during the period he was employed in Egypt, and the vast majority of his pieces were purchased from Sayed Molattam, a noted antiquities dealer based in Luxor, where Devries's work with the Oriental Institute was based.


In Ancient Egypt, scarabs were widely used for thousands of years and served various functions - as amulets, personal seals, ornaments, good luck charms, adjuncts for spells, and in funeral rites where they might have been placed on a mummy.  They were made from a variety of materials, the most common being glazed steatite (a soft, grey metamorphic rock composed mainly of mineral talc) that was sometimes coloured blue or green.  The form of the scarab was typically modelled after the species of beetle, Scarabaeus sacer, which was the sacred emblem of Khepri, the Egyptian creator-god of the morning sun.  The base of scarabs were often, but not always, carved with royal or private names and titles, magical formulae, religious symbols, or decorative designs and patterns. 

The era of the New Kingdom marks the period between the 16th and 11th centuries BC when Egypt was at the height of its power.  It was the time of Pharaohs such as Thutmose III (1479-1425 BC), who expanded the Empire's borders to its greatest extent, his mother Hatshepsut (1478-1458 BC) who ruled in her own right when he was a child, the heretical Akhenaten (1353-1336 BC) and his wife Nefertiti, who attempted a revolution of Egypt's ancient religion, and the famed boy king Tutankhamun (1332-1323 BC).  Also numbered amongst the rulers of the New Kingdom was perhaps Egypt's most famous Pharaoh, Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC), known to the Greeks as Ozymandias, who defeated the Nubians and Hittites, and suppressed the sea pirates who terrorized Egypt's Mediterranean coast.  Ramesses is popularly held to be the Pharaoh in the Book of Exodus of the Bible, who pursued the Israelites led by Moses as they escaped from enslavement in Egypt.

SCARAB . EGYPT, New Kingdom . 1550-1070 BC . Ex Dr. Carl Devries Collection

SKU: M1018-S009
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