Scarab with the Name of Amenemhat III and a Hippopotamus Hunt

Middle Kingdom

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 111

This exquisite openwork seal amulet takes the shape of a scarab beetle and bears the cartouche of Amenemhat III on its back. Below the king’s name is an image of the god Bes flanked by two hippo goddesses.

On the scarab’s underside is a depiction of a hippopotamus hunt. The hunter stands on a small boat. With his arm extended backwards he is about to throw a harpoon at the hippo on the right, although the weapon itself is not represented in the limited space of the image. A rope that is attached to the harpoon is visible behind the man. In his other hand he holds several ropes that are already attached to the hippopotamus from previous successful throws.

Interestingly there is no indication that the hunter is a royal person, despite the name of Amenemhat III on the back of the scarab and the fact that another small object is known that depicts Amenemhat III himself hunting a hippo.

Scarab with the Name of Amenemhat III and a Hippopotamus Hunt, Glazed steatite

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.