Funerary scarab with animal's head
Naturalistic funerary scarab with animal's head
Late Period of Ancient Egypt.
26th to 31st dynasty,
664 BC to 332 BC.
Egyptian naturalistic scarab with the head of another animal. The lower side is also carved with naturalistic details. A transversal drill hole / loop could be used to mount the piece.
This piece is a so-called funerary scarab. It was attached to the mummy's wrappings with the loop at its underbelly. This was common practice specifically during the Late Period. What is still a mystery is the peculiar fashion of the period to give the scarabs heads of other animals. The meaning is not clear.
19mm length, 14mm width, 9mm height.
Very good condition. Only small chips otherwise wonderful shiny original fayence surface. The belly of the scarab is inscribed in white "SCB 6." and "5.1".
Acquired by us in a German auction house in 2018. Consigned by the heir of a German private collection. Acquired for the collection in May 1980 from the stock of the "Aegyptiaca" society in Switzerland. Selected and brokered by Hermann Schlögl (Freiburg i. Br.).
The Aegyptiaca society sold this object from the famous Matouk collection which was in storage at the archaeological collection of Zürich university. It was brought there in 1976, exported from Lebanon, with no Lebanese laws prohibiting the export.
Fouad S. Matouk formed his collection between 1925 and 1976. It was located in Egypt until 1960 and in Lebanon afterwards.
About the famous Matouk collection:
The collection of Fouad Sélim Matouk (1902-1978) included 8520 ancient Egyptian seals, amulets and bronzes, as well as some pieces dating to Greco-Roman and Coptic times. The collection held 6800 scarabs, the third biggest amount worldwide after the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the British Museum in London.
Being Christian Arabs Matouk's parents with their son fled their country of birth Syria and settled in Egypt at the beginning of the 20th century. It was there young Matouk started to build his collection in the mid 1920ies. A prominent part was acquired by him in 1956 in Cairo. It came from the also famous collection of the antiquities dealer Ralph Harrup Blanchard (1875-1936). As a whole the Matouk collection was based on a scientific point of view concerning the typological evolution of form and decoration.
In the year 1960 the collector and trader had to leave Egypt under Nasser's rule and flea to Lebanon. After the Lebanese civil war started Matouk brought his collection to safety in Switzerland in 1976. That is how it could be protected from the chaos of the war, except for the ancient glasses which fell prey to it. Shortly afterwards financial pressure made Matouk decide to sell his collection. He wanted the archaeological institute of Zürich university to have it. But after his unexpected death in 1978 in Beirut his son Tawfik Fouad Matouk had to continue this endeavour.
Zürich university could not pay the full price. The resulting idea was the founding of "Aegyptiaca" society with the financial aid of the Swiss Federation. The society should sell part of the Matouk collection to private collectors until the revenue was enough to buy the remaining part of the collection for Zürich University. Before that the objects were properly researched by the renowned archeologists Prof. Dr. Eric Hornung, Prof. Dr. Othmar Keel, Dr. Leo Mildenberg, Dr. Hermann Schlögl and Dr. Michael Sguaitamatti.
In the end the largest part of the objects were added to the stock of Fribourg University. There, Othmar Keel worked with the pieces, in his function as a Professor for Old Testament and Biblical Environment.
From the part sold to collectors initially a significant amount of objects could be acquired by Alte Roemer Gallery in 2018 and 2019. We are extremely happy to be able to work with those important pieces ourselves. The younger history including names like Matouk and Blanchard is proudly standing up to the Old Egyptian history of those little works of art.
Vgl. C. Andrews, Amulets of Ancient Egypt, p. 59, no. 59.
Literature in respect to the Matouk collection:
F. S. Matouk, Corpus du scarabée égyptien, Vol. I: Les scarabées royaux (Beyrouth, 1971). The catalogue includes 904 objects of the collection.
F. S. Matouk, Corpus du scarabée égyptien. Vol. II: Analyse thématique (Beyrouth, 1971). The catalogue includes 2480 objects of the collection.
O. Keel und C. Uehlinger, Altorientalische Miniaturkunst.
The only published work about pieces from the Blanchard collection:
R. H. Blanchard, Handbook of Egyptian Gods and Mummy Amulets (1909).
We guarantee the authenticity of this object and all works of ancient art sold by us for life.