Egyptian steatite amulet-stamp in the shape of a sacred scarab, II Intermediate Period, 1786-1580 B.C.

This small scarab made of steatite is an amulet that worked as a stamp. They were an amulet of life and power representing the rising Sun, as well as a symbol of the resurrection, but they were also used as personal or administrative stamps. They were perforated from end to end to allow the introduction of a thread and to be able to wear them. The scarab was used as an amulet in life, being frequently worn as a necklace hanging on the neck and when the owner died it was placed between the bandages of the mummy with an apotropic or protective function. The scarabs of this period dominated by the Hyksos are characterized by the ornamental motifs of the orientalizing type and the iconographic elements taken from the Egyptian art like, for example, crowned cobras, ropes, concentric circles, etc. The form of the scarab is characterized by the simplicity of the forms, without showing the extremities but two circular incised lines that define the body and the base. One of the most frequent materials used in making scarabs was steatite, which could be used directly or as a vitreous ceramic material obtained by mixing it with additives that allowed it to be carved, moulded and fired. The most frequent were vitrified in green or blue, although there are also unglazed scarabs like this one.


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