Scarab Pectoral


The Scarab Pectoral was found in Tutankhamun's tomb along with hundreds of other pieces of jewellery. He probably wore it during his lifetime, hung from a gold chain around his neck. It shows a scarab beetle with a sun on top and a bowl on the bottom, and a pair of bird's wings.

What is it made of?

The pectoral is made of gold, inlaid with blue lapis lazuli, red carnelian, and turquoise.

What does it mean?

All these parts of the pectoral are symbols. The scarab stood for the sun god, Re-Kheperi. The Egyptians saw the scarab beetle rolling balls of dung (its food) across the ground, and this reminded them of the sun travelling across the sky. So the pectoral shows the sun god rolling the sun across the sky. The wings show that it is flying.


But the pectoral is also a word - all the parts are hieroglyphs. The sun is re, the scarab is kheper, the three lines make kheper plural (add a 'u' in Egyptian) and the bowl is neb which means 'lord'. So the whole thing says Nebkheperure, which means 'Re is the Lord of Forms.'

Why? because Nebkheperure is Tutankhamun's throne name - the name he was given when he became king. So this piece of jewellery says Tut's name!

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