- Museum number
Serpentine heart-scarab; representations of Harpocrates, Hermanubis, Isis and Serapis on pronotum; striated elytra; head of Zeus-Serapis depicted on base (the inscribed decoration is Roman).
Length: 5 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Jenkins & Sloan 1996
The stone was recut in the Roman period with a bust of Jupiter on one side and a procession of deities on the other.
In his manuscript catalogue to the Hamilton collection, d'Hancarville gives a valuable reference to the source of Hamilton's collection of Egyptian scarabs: 'Here one finds the finest collection of Egyptian scarabs which has ever been made, which the Due de Noia took more than twenty years to put together.' This is perhaps the source of Raspe's note in the collections index to Tassie's casts: 'Caraffa, Noya, Due de a Naples: The scarabs and the more ancient sealstones from his cabinet are today in the British Museum; the rest are with Mr Charles Greville.' Tassie lists a scarab from the Carafa Noia collection at p. 5, no. 36 as being with Greville. Giovanni Carafa (1715-68), Duca di Noia, was a professor of mathematics at the University of Naples. He had a collection of specimens of natural history and another of artworks and antiquities, including vases, coins and inscriptions.
D'Hancarville's claim regarding the quality of the Carafa Noia collection of scarabs was no empty boast. Today the assemblage is outstanding, even to Egyptologists, both for its beauty and for its high proportion of Middle and Late Bronze Age pieces.
When the Hamilton collection was first displayed in the British Museum, those objects that were obviously Egyptian were shown in a gallery separate from the Hamilton Room. The connection between some stones seen here and the Hamilton collection therefore became forgotten and has only been re-established in the course of research for this catalogue.
LITERATURE: Tassie, no.849
- On display (G1/fc16/top/left)
- Acquisition date
- 1772 (or later)
- Egypt and Sudan
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: BS.7966 (Birch Slip Number)
Miscellaneous number: H437