Egyptian Steatite Scarab Dedicated to Amenhotep III
A beautiful glazed, steatite Egyptian scarab with incised hieroglyphs to the reverse. The obverse features the detailed anatomy of a scarab, including a moulded head and clypeus, with incised lines marking the prothorax and elytra. There a small indentations for the humeral callosities. Decorated to the reverse, is a clearly defined composition, including a large central cartouche. Within the cartouche is the seated figure of the goddess Ma’at, holding an ankh amulet. She is clearly identifiable from the feather headdress she wears. Above her is a small sun disk. Below her is the ‘neb’ basket hieroglyph. Together these would read, as written, as re-maat-neb. Given the nature of hieroglpyhs and their positioning, this order makes little sense. Instead, the signs would be read as ‘Neb-maat-re’, which is the prenomen of the 18th Dynasty pharaoh Amenhotep III. Flanking the cartouche are two large feathers, a winding uraeus and a sun disk. The composition is beautifully moulded and balanced. The scarab is pierced for suspension.
Date: Circa 1391–1353 or 1388–1351 BC Period: New Kingdom Period, 18th Dynasty Provenance: Ex North London, UK, gentleman, 1990s. Condition: Very fine. Clear and defined hieroglyphs.
The prenomen ‘nebmaatre’ belongs to the 18th Dynasty pharaoh Amenhotep III, also known as Amenhotep the Great or Amenophis III. During his reign, Egypt prospered and reached the height of its artistic and political power. His influence is recorded in the vast number of statues and architecture attributed to his reign, as well as foreign correspondence in the form of cuneiform tablets. Over 250 statues of the pharaoh have been found, alongside the temple complexes and monuments recording his name. Amenhotep III was the father of Amenhotep IV, who later changed his name to Akhenaten, and thus is the grandfather of Tutankhamun.