Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Scarab Commemorating the Construction of an Artificial Lake

New Kingdom
Dynasty 18
reign of Amenhotep III
ca. 1390–1352 B.C.
From Egypt and Sudan, Nubia; Probably from Buhen
Steatite (glazed)
l. 9.8 cm (3 7/8 in); w. 7.2 cm (2 13/16 in); th. 4.5 cm (1 3/4 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1935
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 119
During Amenhotep's reign, a series of large, glazed steatite scarabs were issued commemorating events in the king's life. This commemorative scarab records the completion of an artificial lake constructed by Amenhotep III for his principal wife, Queen Tiye.
The main inscription on the commemorative scarab reads:
rnp.t 11 xr Hm n Hr.w kA nxt xa(.w)-m-mAa.t smn hp.w sgrH tA.wj Hr.w-nbw aA xpS Hw sT.tjw nswt nb-mAa.t-raw zA raw jmn-xtp HqA-wAs.t dj anx Hm.t nsw.t wr.t tjy rn n jt=s jwjA rn n mw.t=s Twjw wD Hm=f jr.t mr n Hm.t nswt wr.t tjy anx tj m dmj=s n Dar-wxA Aw=f 3700 wsx=f 700 jr.n HAb wbA S m Abd 3 Ax.t hrw 16 Xn.t Hm=f m wjA-nswt jtn Txn m-Xn.w=f
Regnal Year 11 under the majesty of Horus, the Strong Bull Appearing in Truth, Two Ladies, Who Established the Laws and Pacifies the Two Lands, Horus of Gold, Strong of Arm who Smites the Asiatics, King of Upper and Lower Egypt Nebmaatre, Son of Re, Amenhotep Ruler of Thebes given life, the great royal wife Tiye, may she live, whose father's name is Yuya and whose mother's name is Tjuyu. His majesty commanded the making of a basin for the great royal wife Tiye, may she live, in her town of Djarukha. Its length is 3700 (cubits) and its width is 700 (cubits.) (His Majesty) celebrated the opening of the lake in the third month of the Akhet season, day 16. The procession of his majesty in the royal barge Aten-Tjehen (the dazzling sun disk) was in it.
Another text is inscribed on the back of the scarab and it reads:
anx nTr nfr nb-mAa.t-raw mr.y Hr.w bhn
May the perfect god, Nebmaatre (Amenhotep III), beloved of Horus of Buhen live

Finally, two inscriptions in the triangles formed by the legs and base bears the names of the king and the queen:
nTr nfr nb tA.wj nb-mAa.t raw dj(.w) anx
The perfect god, lord of the two lands, Nebmaatre (Amenhotep III) given life
Hm.t nswt tjy []
The royal wife Tiye
Niv Allon 2015
Purchased near Wadi Halfa by Osman Mohammed, the Metropolitan Museum of Art Egyptian Expedition cook. Purchased from Osman Mohammed by the Museum, 1935.

Posener, Georges 1959. Dictionnaire de la civilisation égyptienne. Paris: F. Hazan, p. 260.

Hayes, William C. 1959. Scepter of Egypt II: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Part II: The Hyksos Period and the New Kingdom (1675-1080 B.C.). Cambridge, Mass.: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 233, fig. 138.

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