Heart Amulet with Head of a Scarab
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
The heart was generally the only organ left inside the human mummy. Ancient Egyptians believed that the heart was the seat of one’s consciousness, and that it was weighed against the feather of truth during Osiris’s judgment of the deceased. If the scale remained in balance, the deceased was accepted into the afterlife. To ensure success, a heart scarab was placed close to the heart of the mummy. Its inscriptions asked the heart to support the deceased during judgment.
The unusual shape of this amulet represents an animal’s heart—the shape of the hieroglyph for “heart”—with the head of a scarab beetle, a symbol of regeneration.
ca. 1539-1190 B.C.E.
XVIII Dynasty to XIX Dynasty
9/16 x 1 1/16 x 1 7/8 in. (1.5 x 2.7 x 4.8 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
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Heart Amulet with Head of a Scarab, ca. 1539-1190 B.C.E. Jade (probably), 9/16 x 1 1/16 x 1 7/8 in. (1.5 x 2.7 x 4.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.492E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.492E_top_PS2.jpg)
top, 37.492E_top_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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