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Giant sculpture of a scarab beetle

From Istanbul, modern Turkey
Egyptian, perhaps Ptolemaic period, 332-30 BC

The scarab beetle (Scarabeus sacer) is one of the enduring symbols of ancient Egypt, representing rebirth and associated with the rising sun. This green diorite sculpture, at around one and a half metres long, is one of the largest representations known. It would presumably have originally stood in a temple. It is said to be Ptolemaic (305-30 BC), and may have been taken to Constantinople (modern Istanbul), when Constantinople was the capital of the later Roman Empire (from AD 330). There is another large scarab near the Sacred Lake in the Temple of Karnak; it originally came from the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC).

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Giant sculpture of a scarab beetle

¾ view of scarab

  • View from above

    View from above

 

More information

Bibliography

T.G.H. James and W.V. Davies, Egyptian sculpture (London, The British Museum Press, 1983)

I. Shaw and P. Nicholson (eds.), British Museum dictionary of A (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

Dimensions

Height: 91.500 cm (max)
Length: 152.500 cm (max)

Museum number

EA 74

YCA69222

Location

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