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commemorative scarab

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Steatite lion hunt scarab of Amenhotep III: this large, dark green blue, glazed steatite scarab, with standardised markings on the back to indicate the head, prothorax, wing cases and scorings on the legs imitating feathering, is one from a series which were produced during the reign of King Amenhotep III to commemorate various important royal events. The incised inscription on the underside of this example records that in the first ten years of his reign the king himself shot with bow and arrow 102 lions. It also provides the full royal titulary of five names borne by Amenhotep III and states that Queen Tiye was his chief wife. The scarab is pierced longitudinally.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1380BC (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 5.7 centimetres
    • Width: 4 centimetres
    • Depth: 2.3 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Translation

        Titles/epithets include : King of Upper and Lower Egypt; Given Life; Son of Ra Titles/epithets include : King's Wife
      • Inscription Comment

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Comment

        Commemorates the killing of 102 lions by Amenhotep III.
  • Curator's comments

    Other scarabs in the series record his marriage to Tiye (by whom he became the father of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten), the arrival of a princess from Mitanni (located at the headwaters of the river Euphrates) to join the royal household, the digging of an artificial lake and a wild bull hunt. These large commemorative scarabs with regnal dates are unique to the reign of Amenhotep III. Over 170 examples from the five different sets survive and have been found not only in Egypt but as far north as Syria and in the south, beyond the Second Cataract in the Sudan. It has been suggested that they were sent out to the provinces like palace bulletins to keep officials there informed of the personal affairs of their sovereign. One authority has even likened them to modern newspapers. Whatever the specific function of these particular scarabs, any object in the shape of the dung beetle retained the underlying amuletic significance of affording new life or resurrection.

    'Egyptian Treasures' [exhibition catalogue] (Shanghai, 1999), 278-279 No 86.


  • Bibliography

    • Blankenberg-Van Delden 1969 C34 bibliographic details
    • Andrews 2000 p.214-215 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited: 1995 Feb-May, Atlanta, Emory University, Reflections of Women in the New Kingdom 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
    2016 8 Mar-12 Jun, Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art, Pharoah: King of Egypt

  • Condition


  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number



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Object reference number: YCA37893

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