Scarab Incised with Hierolgyphs and Flower in Circle Border

Second Intermediate Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 109

In the early second millennium B.C., many Egyptian stamp seals are incised with decorative compositions of circles or scrolls. Compositions with circles become even more popular on Second Intermediate Period Egyptian scarabs and on Canaanite scarabs of the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 1700–1500 B.C.).

Hieroglyphs and a stylized lotus flower decorate the underside of this scarab. They are surrounded by a border of circles, a design frequently found on Canaanite scarabs like this one. The hieroglyphs are not meant to form words, but were chosen for their decorative and general protective powers.

Scarab Incised with Hierolgyphs and Flower in Circle Border, Steatite

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