Scarab with Contest Scene (Man and Lion)

Third Intermediate Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 130

A particular type of seal-amulet is found in archaeological contexts from the 10th century B.C. onwards. They are quite crudely and irregularly carved and the motifs on the underside show predominantly hunting scenes, with varied combinations of horned quadrupeds, lions, ostriches, and hunters. Based on the style of the incisions and on the large numbers that have surfaced in (northern) Egypt, but especially in the southern Levant, these seal-amulets are considered to be the result of a mass production. Their origin, however, is still under discussion. In the scholarly literature, they are labelled ‘Post-Ramesside mass-produced seal-amulets’ and are dated to the late 11th and 10th centuries B.C., that is, Dynasty 21 and early Dynasty 22 in Egypt, or the end of the Iron Age IB – early Iron Age II in the southern Levant.

This example shows a human figure and a lion. The lion’s tail is raised above its back and the manes are rendered by short strokes. The reed hieroglyph is placed above the scene, probably for decorative purposes.

Scarab with Contest Scene (Man and Lion), Steatite

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