An Egyptian Carnelian Scarab, Late Period, ca. 664 - 525 BCE
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Carved from fiery carnelian, the base inscribed with a seated king with a subject in front of him, the back uninscribed, pierced longitudinally for attachment.
Background: A scarab is an amulet of a dung beetle; an insect that held particular significance for the Egyptians, who interpreted the rolling of a ball of dung along the ground and down a hole as simulating the sun moving across the sky and setting. The scarab laid its eggs inside the dung, and after an incubation period, the offspring emerged from beneath the earth. Thus the Egyptian word for scarab was ‘Kheper’ meaning ‘to come into existence’. This creature became the embodiment of the creator god Khepri, who had a human body and the head of a dung beetle, and whom it was believed brought the sun from the underworld and moved it through the sky. One of the most popular amulets in Egypt, scarabs were produced for over 2000 years, from the end of the Old Kingdom to the Ptolemaic Period.
Dimensions: Length: 5/8 inch (1.5 cm)
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.
Provenance: Acquired in Egypt by Goddard Du Bois (b. 1869 – d. 1925) and Josephine Cook Du Bois (b. 1864 – d. 1961), New York between 1900 and 1907, exhibited Metropolitan Museum of Art (1920-1948) # 45.930. Goddard & Josephine Dubois, husband & wife team, took frequent excursions throughout Egypt between 1900-07. They became experts at assessing ancient Egyptian art and would routinely take their acquisitions to Egyptologist experts of the day for added approval ( Josephine’s handwritten letters while in Egypt referring to meeting Barsanti). Josephine was particularly proud of her collection of necklaces which were loaned & exhibited at Metropolitan Museum New York to open their Egyptian Jewel Gallery in 1920.
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