Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Scarab Inscribed for the Perfect God Maatkare (Hatshepsut)

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 (6/8 in.); W. 1.1 cm (7/16 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).

In the inscription on the base of this scarab, the name Maatkare is written with the crouching goddess (Maat, identified by the ostrich plume on her head), the ka hieroglyph (upraised arms at the lower right), and the sun-disk (Re). In this writing, Maat holds the ankh hieroglyph (life, or to live). This writing of the name also occurs on scarab 27.3.214. The hieroglyphs at the top of the inscription record one of the epithets of the Pharaoh, "The Good God," or "The Perfect God."
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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