Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Scarab Inscribed for the Perfect God Maatkare (Hatshepsut), Flanked by Two Red Crowns

New Kingdom
Dynasty 18, early
Joint reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III
ca. 1479–1458 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Temple of Hatshepsut, Foundation Deposit 7 (G), MMA excavations, 1926–27
Steatite (glazed)
L. 1.6 cm (5/8 in.); W. 1.2 cm (1/2 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1927
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 116
During the 1926-1927 excavation season, the Museum's Egyptian Expedition uncovered three foundation deposits along the eastern enclosure wall of Hatshepsut's funerary temple at Deir el-Bahri in Western Thebes. Among the contents were 299 scarabs and stamp-seals. Sixty-five of these are now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, and the rest were acquired by the Museum in the division of finds.

Among the inscriptions on the bases of these scarabs and seals are examples of every title Hatshepsut held, from the time she was "king's daughter" during the reign of her father, Thutmose I; through the time she was queen of her half-brother, Thutmose II; and during her regency and co-reign with her nephew/step-son, Thutmose III.

After the death of her husband, Hatshepsut became regent for her nephew who was a small child. The length of this regency period is uncertain, with estimates ranging from two to seven years. At some time, probably toward the end of the regency, Hatshepsut adopted the name Maatkare which was usually enclosed in a cartouche and became her throne name as king. The name may be roughly translated as Maat (the goddess of truth) is the life force of Re (the sun god).

On four of the Museum's scarabs (27.3.218 - 27.3.221), the name Maatkare is flanked by hieroglyphs that represent the red crown of Lower Egypt (the Delta region). The hieroglyphs are carved in a similar style and the back designs are nearly identical suggesting that the amulets were carved by the same craftsman, or by a pair of craftsmen; one who specialized in carving the scarab and the other adding the inscription. This scarab (27.3.240) probably belongs to the same group. the artist has simply added the hieroglyphs ankh ti (living) to the name Maatkare.
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1926–1927. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1927.

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