Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Heart Scarab of Hatnefer

New Kingdom
Dynasty 18, early
reign of Thutmose II–Early Joint reign
ca. 1492–1473 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Tomb of Hatnefer and Ramose (below TT 71), Mummy of Hatnefer, MMA excavations, 1935–36
Serpentinite, gold
Scarab: L. 6.6 cm (2 5/8 in.); W. 5.3 cm (2 1/16 in.); H. 2.8 cm (1 1/8 in.); Chain: L. 77.5 cm (30.1/2 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1936
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 116
Hatnefer's heart scarab is an exceptionally fine example of this type of funerary equipment and is comparable to those made for contemporary royalty (see 26.8.145). Every feature of the scarab beetle is carefully rendered. The exquisite chain is made of gold wire, plaited in a quadruple-link pattern. The scarab's base is engraved with a version of Book of the Dead chapter 30A, in which the deceased addresses her own heart, exhorting it not to bear witness against Hatnefer's spirit (ka) during the final judgment in the afterlife. Hatnefer's name was inserted over an erased text, indicating that the scarab was not originally made for her.

Heart Scarab Text:

The Mistress of the House, Hatnefer, says: "Heart of my mother, heart of my mother, heart of my (actual) being, do not rise up against me as a witness; do not contend against me in the court of judgment; do not make opposition against me in the presence of the keeper of the balance. You are my bodily ka, a Khnum who has invigorated my limbs. When you ascend to the perfection from which we have come, do not cause our names to stink to the entourage who create mankind in their proper stations, but rather may it go well with us and with the listener, so that the judge may rejoice. Do not devise lies against me in the presence of the god, for your reckoning is at hand." (translation by Peter F. Dorman)

For other objects from Hatnefer's burial see 36.3.1, 36.3.3–.6.
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1935–1936. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1936.

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.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 224-225, fig. 133.

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