'Cryptographic' scarab: a faded white steatite scarab with an incised right-facing figurative inscription.
- Found/Acquired: Egypt
- Width: 0.9 centimetres
- Length: 1.3 centimetres
- Depth: 0.6 centimetres
Inscription TranslationSomeone favoured of Amun
Inscription CommentIncised. The sun-disk can be read as 'jtn' ('sun-disk'), the cat as 'mjw' ('cat'), and the basket as 'nb' ('lord'). On the acrophonic principle, these signs can then be read 'j'+'m'+'n'.The vase before the cat is ḥsj, allowing the whole motto to be read 'ḥsj-jmn' ('Someone favoured of Amun'), a wish for the person wearing the scarab, or having it buried with him. At the same time the inscription can be viewed, as it were literally, as a representation of a cat (a manifestation of the sun-god) sitting on the sign for lordship with an offering vase in front of it.
J. Malek, 'The Cat in Ancient Egypt' (London, 1993), 92;
cf. E. Hornung and E. Staehelin, 'Skarabäen und andere Siegelamulette aus Busier Sammlungen', Ägyptische Denkmaler in der Schweiz (Mainz, 1976), 173-80, 406.
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
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Object reference number: YCA20196
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