Egyptian Steatite Scarab
An ancient Egyptian steatite scarab with a cartouche inscribed on the base.
Late Period, ca. 700 - 30 BC.
The ancient Egyptians believed the Scarabeus Beetle was able to spontaneously regenerate itself from cow dung, which these beetles can be observed rolling into small balls and burying. Consequently the scarab came to symbolize a spontaneous continuation of the life cycle. These finely carved amulets were worn in life and in necklaces around the mummy. Often the bases were inscribed with symbols or "words of power," intended to magically invigorate the wearer.
Formerly in a Pennsylvania private collection.