ornament / jewellery
An inlaid ornament composed of a winged scarab holding a sun's disc in its forefeet and a 'kha'-sign in its back feet, made from electrum inlaid with cornelian, lapis lazuli and green feldspar. The 'kha'-sign is flanked by papyrus umbels whose wire stems surround and unite the three symbols. The design represents the prenomen of Senusret II, Kha-kheper-Re.
The head of the scarab is inlaid with lapis lazuli, its back with green feldspar and its wing-cases with lapis lazuli. Only four legs are represented, made from flat wire soldered to the underside of the body. The forelegs are notched; they hold the circular cloison of the sun's disc which is inlaid with cornelian. The back legs rest on the 'kha'-sign which is inlaid with cornelian below and green feldspar above. The papyrus heads flank the 'kha'-sign. They are inlaid with green feldspar and are framed by two pieces of wire curving around underneath but not reaching as far as the ends of the heads of the flowers. The wire is soldered to the legs and the body.
The wings, wider at the base and pointed at the ends, are filled with strips of coloured stones arranged side by side, not in cloisons. At the base of the wing is a shaped piece of cornelian fitting the point which joins the body; next comes a bar of green feldspar (missing on the left side and replaced by a green-painted inlay). Then come strips of lapis lazuli, carnelian and green felspar, with lapis lazuli in one wing-tip and dark-blue glazed composition in the other. These inlays are held in place by a brownish glue or cement.
The cloisons were probably made all in one, folded up in a mould, and not from single pieces of metal soldered together to form a box. Tubes are soldered to the underside of the wings at a slight angle following the line of the wings; they are notched with three lines to represent separate rings. They could have been used for sewing the piece on to a cloth or for a suspension wire or thread. The reverse is not decorated, and smooth except for the body of the scarab which has grooves across it imitating the underside of a beetle.
- 1897BC-1878BC (circa)
- Found/Acquired: Egypt
- Length: 3.5 centimetres (wing span)
- Length: 1.5 centimetres (wing length)
- Height: 1.8 centimetres (total height)
This ornament is very similar to one found in 1912-13 at el-Riqqa in tomb a L24 (see R. Engelbach, ‘Riqqeh and Memphis’ VI (London, 1915), pl. I, 1 = Manchester University Museum 5967), which consists of a winged scarab, its head missing, with the 'kha'-sign below and lotus flowers under the wings. It could almost be a companion piece. Engelbach (R. Engelbach, 'Harageh' (London, 1923), 15; pl. XV, 2: parts of a silver pectoral, much corroded, consisting of a cartouche containing the signs 'kheper', 'kha' and 'Re', from tomb 124 = St. Louis Missouri E 9064.1 (?)) was of the opinion that jewellery from a tomb at el-Haraga (tomb 124) and that of tomb A 124 might be from the same hand.
Cf. Kha-kheper-Re in pectorals: J. de Morgan, ‘Fouilles à Dahchour, Mars-Juin, 1894’ (Vienna, 1895), pls. XV, XVI, XXI, no. 1 = C. Aldred, ‘Jewels of the Pharaohs’ (London, 1971), pl. 33 = A. Wilkinson, 'Ancient Egyptian Jewellery' (London, 1971), pl. XVIIA, B: gold with inlays of lapis lazuli, cornelian and turquoise from Sit-Hathor's treasure at Dahshur = E. Vernier, ‘Bijoux et orfèvreries. Catalogue général des antiquities égyptiennes du Musée dr Caire’ (Cairo, 1927), 52001; and G. Brunton, ‘Lahun, I, The Treasure’ (London, 1920), pls. V, VII, A, B = C. Aldred, ‘Jewels of the Pharaohs’ (London, 1971), pl.37 = A. Wilkinson, 'Ancient Egyptian Jewellery' (London, 1971), pls. I, XVI: gold with inlays of lapis lazuli, cornelian and turquoise, from the treasure of Sit-Hathor-lunet at Illahun = New York, MMA 16.1.3.
E. A. Wallis Budge 'A Guide to the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Egyptian Rooms, and the Coptic Room' (London, 1922), 96, no. 668:
A. Wilkinson, 'Ancient Egyptian Jewellery' (London, 1971), 90;
The British Museum, 'Jewellery through 7000 years' [exhibition catalogue] (London, 1976), no. 23;
I. Shaw and P. Nicholson, 'British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt (London, 1995), p.144;
R. Parkinson, ‘ Cracking Codes: The Rosetta Stone and Decipherment’ (London, 1999), cat 29;
N. Strudwick, Masterpieces of Ancient Egypt, London 2006, p. 97.
2011 Jul–Sept, Newcastle, Great North Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Oct–Jan, Dorchester, Dorset County Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Feb–June, Leeds City Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Jul-Oct, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Nov– Feb 2013, Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2013 Mar–Aug, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery , Pharaoh: King of Egypt
[Theme: Royal Regalia & Titles]
2013, 25 Oct- 2014, 15 Feb, Wuhan, Hubei Provincial Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt, PROMISED
22 July 1981
Reason for treatment
Delacquer and clean.
Lacquered. One piece of inlay made of painted perspex (?). Gold tarnished, copper corrosion.
Whole swabbed with acetone. Gold swabbed with 30% v/v formic acid. Wiped with Goddard's Long Term Silver Cloth.
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Object reference number: YCA69237
British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.
The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.