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HOME : Egyptian Antiquities : Egyptian Scarab Rings : Finger-Ring with Scarab
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Finger-Ring with Scarab - LO.1142
Origin: Egypt
Dimensions: 0.750" (1.9cm) wide
Collection: Egyptian Antiquities


Additional Information: sold

Location: Great Britain
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Description
The ancient Egyptians maintained that the sun was propelled across the heavens by means of a scarab, or sacred beetle. With the passing of time, the Egyptians created a series of amulets in the form of this beetle in a great variety of materials, and these were routinely provided with inscriptions in hieroglyphs conveniently accommodated to their stylized flat bottoms. Such scarabs were generally incorporated into finger rings, as here, where they served as bezels.

Our scarab is just such a variation with a remarkable degree of ornamentation on its upper side. The head with its eyes, the plate, and the clypeus are well articulated as are the thorax and elytra, or wing case, which are articulated with a double T-shaped set of incisions. The thorax is additionally ornamented with two curls, asymmetrically designed.

The bottom of our scarab is ornamented with a complex, interlocking pattern of coiled cords, dotted in the center. Although such patterns are a common decorative element on scarabs of the period, scholars have yet to convincingly identify their meaning. Nevertheless, such motifs, which may have originally been imbued with magical properties, were first introduced in the Middle Kingdom and were repeatedly encountered on scarabs of later periods. The curl design on the thorax is likewise attested during the period to which our scarab is assigned.

Scarab finger-rings, mounted in settings with swivel bezels, as seen here in our finger ring, are attested from the time of the Middle Kingdom and become particularly popular in the New Kingdom.

References: For a discussion of these designs, see, Daphna Ben- Tor, The Scarab. A Reflection of Ancient Egypt (Jerusalem 1993, page 31; and Carol Andrews, Ancient Egyptian Jewellery (London 1990), page 164, for a discussion of these finger rings.

Translation and interpretation kindly provided by Prof Robert S. Bianchi. - (LO.1142)

 

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