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Currently shown

Heart Scarab

Location

EGYPT

Era

Late Period, 26th Dynasty (664-525 B.C.E.)

Title

Heart Scarab

Materials

Faience

Dimensions

6 x 12.7 cm

Credits

Gift of Mrs. M. L. Simister, inv. 1918.B.2a-c

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

In life as in death, the Egyptians sought to win the favours and the protection of the gods. Amulets fulfilled this function of magical protection. There were a wide variety of them: ex votos depicting deities, amulets that could be strung like beads and worn as a necklace, or amulets placed between the strips of linen used in mummification. The type of amulet determined the protection provided. Some of them, such as the heart scarab, were positioned in very specific places on the body of the deceased. The latest computed tomography (CT) technologies have, in fact, enabled an accurate pinpointing of the placement of heart scarabs – either on the breastbone, sewn onto the linen strips, or directly inside the chest cavity, between the seventh and eighth ribs.

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