Ancient Egypt, Saite Period, Twenty-Sixth Dynasty (XXVI), ca. 664 to 525 BCE. A large greenstone "heart" scarab with carved details of the head, wings, and legs. Heart scarabs are oval amulets that were used as personal protection, jewelry, and grave goods. In the Book of the Dead, they are prescribed to be made of stone, usually green stones, such as jasper, serpentine, and greenish basalt. A scarab like this one most likely 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, an individual's 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: 1.5" L x 1.25" W (3.8 cm x 3.2 cm)
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-private Boulder, Colorado, USA collection; ex-Frances Artuner collection, Belgium, acquired in the 1960s
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