Statues and statuettes carved in the form of scribes, portrayed sitting or squatting with inscribed papyrus rolls in their laps, have been recovered since the Old Kingdom. Such production would have been placed in royal or high rank tombs to ensure that the deceased would have been assisted in the afterlife. As the Egyptians valued literacy above all other skills, Pharaohs, princes and officials would have also presented themselves as scribes, to ensure that they would have been considered part of the elite group of literates. Although larger-scale representations of scribes are quite common, small seals or amulets, such as this fine example, are extremely rare. Ancient Egyptians wore amulets alongside other pieces of jewellery. Amulets were decorative, but also served a practical purpose, being considered to bestow power and protection upon the wearer. Many amulets have been found inside the wrappings of mummies, as they were used to prepare the deceased for the afterlife. Scribe amulets would have ensured assistance in the afterlife but also presented the deceased as a literate.
To discover more about amulets in the Ancient Egyptian world, please visit our relevant post: Amulets in Ancient Egypt.