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Winged Scarab

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Temples and Tombs, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
Living persons wore only one or a few amulets at a time, but mummies usually bear many amulets. The Ma’at amulet (no. 2) and heart scarabs (nos. 1, 3, 11), which occurred in many forms, guaranteed a successful judgment of the dead. The amulets of a hand (no. 8), lungs and a windpipe (no. 12), and wadjet-eyes (i.e., “healthy” eyes; no. 4) protected those parts of the body and also had connotations of resurrection and the unity or integrity of the mummy. The enigmatic aper amulet (no. 13) takes the form of the hieroglyph meaning “to be equipped,” perhaps in reference to the mummy’s preparation. The two crowns (nos. 5, 6) were symbols of power. The Heh insignia (no. 7), like the popular ankh-sign, denoted eternal life. Among the living, the frog (no. 9) and possibly also the hare (no. 10) suggested fertility. The amulets of the Four Sons of Horus (no. 15) perhaps served, as they did with canopic jars, to protect various organs of the body.
MEDIUM Faience, glazed
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 664-332 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY XVIII Dynasty - XX Dynasty
    PERIOD Late Period
    DIMENSIONS 1/2 x 1 1/16 x 1 5/16 in. (1.2 x 2.7 x 3.3 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Brooklyn Museum Collection
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Winged Scarab, 664-332 B.C.E. Faience, glazed, 1/2 x 1 1/16 x 1 5/16 in. (1.2 x 2.7 x 3.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection, X249.42. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE installation, West Wing gallery A-3 installation, CUR.x249.42_wwgA-3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Blue. With separate wings. Scarab in blue glazed faience, with separate wings, the details of the latter carefully marked with primary and secondary feathering, and attached with modern string. The scarab is pierced top and bottom and on both sides for the attachment of the wings. Back: clypeus notched, plate (hatched), head and eyes marked. A single line between the elytra, descending to the base, a single line between the prothorax and elytra. The elytra are striated. Side: legs molded in bold relief, all feathered. The tip of each of the wings is pierced.
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