Egypt, New Kingdom to Third Intermediate Period, 1550 to 712 BCE. A large dark grey basalt "heart" scarab with carved details to the head, wings, and legs. Heart scarabs are oval amulets that were used as personal protection, jewelry, and grave goods. The Book of the Dead prescribes heart scarabs as made of stone, and they are often made of jasper, serpentine, and basalt. A scarab like this one would have been placed inside of a mummy's wrappings over its heart, which the ancient Egyptians believed to be the seat of the mind. After death, according to their beliefs, the heart would be weighed against a feather by the jackal god Anubis before a panel of deities who waited at the gateway to the netherworld to judge the dead. If the heart was lighter than a feather, then the deceased could pass into the next life; if not, they would be devoured by a monster and cease to exist. Size: 2.1" L x 1.5" W x 0.65" H (5.3 cm x 3.8 cm x 1.7 cm)
Provenance: Matrisciano collection, California, USA
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