Funerary scarab

Late Period, Dynasty 25–31
760–332 B.C.


Length x width: 5 x 3.1 cm (1 15/16 x 1 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Mummy trappings

This funerary scarab of somewhat flat proportions carries a brilliant blue glaze, now slightly incrusted and pocked. Deeply incised details on the back define components of the beetle’s body and head (with an especially pronouned front portion, or clypeus). The base of the scarab is flat and undecorated. Six holes have been made: two on each side, likely for the attachment of separate components shaped as wings, and one at each end, likely for attachment of the scarab to mummy wrappings. The object is cracked in several places.

In ancient Egyptian funerary religion, the winged scarab was an image closely associated with the sun-god and a popular symbol of protection and rebirth.


By 1836: Robert Hay Collection, Linplum, Scotland; 1863: to his son, Robert James Alexander Hay; 1868-1872: Way Collection, Boston (purchased by Samuel A. Way through London dealers Rollin and Feuardent, 27 Haymarket); 1872: given to the MFA by Samuel's son, C. Granville Way. (Accession Date: June 28, 1872)

Credit Line

Hay Collection—Gift of C. Granville Way