Funerary Scarab

Late Period, Dynasty 25–30
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 faience funerary scarab is of a very deep blue-black color with traces of glaze. Incised parallel lines indicate striations on the beetle’s wings, while ither lines divide sections of the body and head. Small notches have been cut out of the front curve of the base, with two larger notches on the sides, possibly to schematically indicate the beetle’s legs. The base is flat and undecorated. The scarab has been pierced six times: two holes on each side likely accommodate the attachment of additional components shaped as wings, complementing a hole at front and back for attachment of the scarab to mummy wrappings. This scarab is largely intact, though much of its original surface glaze has worn away.

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