Egyptian Faience Scarab
An ancient Egyptian blue faience scarab, with groves on the side; possibly was used as a button.
Late Period, ca. 700 - 30 BC.
The ancient Egyptians believed the Scarabeus Beetle was able to spontaneously regenerate itself from cow dung, which these beetles can be observed rolling into small balls and burying. Consequently the scarab came to symbolize a spontaneous continuation of the life cycle. These finely carved amulets were worn in life and in necklaces around the mummy. Often the bases were inscribed with symbols or "words of power," intended to magically invigorate the wearer.
cf.: C. Andrews, Amulets of Ancient Egypt, (Texas, 1994), cover and fig. 58a.
Formerly in a Pennsylvania private collection.