An unusual Ancient Egyptian scarab with an engraved image of Bastet, goddess of the home, women, fertility and childbirth. Reinforcing the symbolism of Bastet are the other hieroglyphs, which include the hieroglyph for the placenta and a wickerwork basket. The hieroglyphs have been clearly carved and are easy to read. The scarab has been pierced longitudinally for suspension.
Date: Circa 1200-500 BC Provenance: Ex Mustaki Collection. The scarab comes from the Mustaki Collection. Mustaki was an avid collector in the early 20th century and his collection came to the UK under Egyptian licence in 1947. Many of his pieces are in major museums worldwide, including the British Museum, the Getty Museum and the Egyptian State Museum. This collection and this item has been catalogued by Carol Andrews (formerly Egyptian Department in the British Museum). Condition: Fine, with some small chips. Remains easily readable.
As goddess of several major areas of daily life, Bastet was one of the most important gods in the Egyptian pantheon, appearing especially frequently on everyday items due to her protective role over the home and the risky process of childbirth. The hieroglyphs, which have been paired with the image of Bastet here, allude to this influence over childbirth and household tasks and were originally worn by a woman for its protective benefits.