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Heart Scarab Of Sebekemzaf

Heart Scarab Of Sebekemzaf

This Jasper scarab set in gold is the earliest known royal heart scarab

. The first heart scarab hitherto found belonged to a private official about a century earlier than this example, but it seems unlikely that this type of object was first invented for a commoner .the scarab has a rudimentary human face and is set in a hollow sheet-gold plinth with a rounded back .

Each of the insects legs is made from a sheet-gold strip ,with roughly incised marks representing hairs. The crudely-formed hieroglyphs incised around the plinth and in five horizontal lines across the underside give the kings name, followed by parts of Chapter 30B of the Book of the dead .The text is the Spell for preventing the heart from opposing the deceased ; and was thought to come into action when the owners heart was symbolically weighed in the balance in the underworld in order to ascertain its owners worthiness to enter the Egyptian equivalent of paradise ( see EA 10470/3 , pages 218-21 ).

To the Egyptians, the heart was the seat of intelligence, the origin of all feelings and action. And the storehouse of memory. Thus, alone among the internal organs, the heart was left in place during the embalming process so that it could be weighed in the under world. Should the heart be destroyed , an amulet could act as a substitute . This is why the spells usually found on a heart amulet are also intended to stop it being taken away from its owner, or, if such a dire event should occur , to return it to the deceased. In the inscriptions on this scarab the legs of the bird-shaped hieroglyphs are missing. A feature usually termed mutilated hieroglyphs. This was employed in texts in funerary and magical contexts from the later Old Kingdom to prevent the hieroglyphs magically coming to life and attacking the dead person. Like other aspects of reliefs and paintings , hieroglyphs were belived to be capable to render of being transformed into three-dimensional reality, and it was therefore necessary to render them harmless.

Tow kings named Sebekemzaf are known from the Seventeen Dynasty in the later second Intermediated period ( see EA871,pages 114- 15).
Heart Scarab Of Sebekemzaf

In particular, the tom of king Sekhmreshedtawy Sebekemzaf is well known from papyri .

It is mentioned in the Abbott papyrus ( see Ea10221.pages 232-3) as being the only royal tomb found robbed in year19 of Ramesses IX .

Coincidentally , the Leopold Amherst Papyrus, now divided between Brussels and New York ,bears an account of the robbery and the trial of the robbers .

This scarab could have come from that tomb ,but the burial of the other Sebekemzaf is also a possible source. The locations of the German Archaeogical Institute has revealed the tomb of the Seventeenth Dynasty king Nubkheperre Inyotef (see his coffin.,EA6652, pages 112-13), which is believed to lie near that of Sekhemreshedtawy Sebekemzaf.

Length : 3.8 cm; width: 2.5 cm Ea 7876

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