What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
What are these?
This display of amulets is really cool! They are laid out in a way that reflect the original way in which amulets were arranged in mummy wrappings.
Amulets served protective purposes. They would have been worn in life as as well as being part of the funerary equipment. Funerary amulets would have been placed in the linen wrappings of the deceased.
What significance does the beetle have?
This kind of beetle--the dung beetle--was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians. It represented rebirth and renewal. The scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians! They also believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab (the god Khepri).
Scarabs or dung beetles create balls of dung, which they roll across the desert. This was connected to the idea of a solar god moving the sun across the sky! The beetles lay their eggs in these balls of dung and when their young emerge it can seem miraculous. This also fostered the connection between scarabs and birth/rebirth, hence their use for the deceased as protective emblems.
My friend and I are trying to figure out what this thing is. Could you help us?
Absolutely! This is an amulet in the form of a winged scarab. As you may be able to tell from the display, it would have been wrapped into a mummy over the deceased's chest.
Scarabs (or dung beetles) were important in ancient Egyptian beliefs because they were tied to rebirth and the sun. The real beetles roll balls of dung around the desert (like the sun rolls across the sky) and they lay their eggs in these dung-balls. When the young beetles emerge from the balls it appears like a miraculous birth!
Thanks so cool! Thank you
What do these symbols mean?
There are also many symbols! Some of the main ones are the Isis knot which is also the hieroglyph "tyt" and is a symbol of protection. You can also find many "djed" signs which look like pillars. They are meant to emulate the spine of the god Osiris and are a symbol of enduring strength.
What’s this amulet made of?
This is made of a material called faience. This is a paste made of ground quartz stone mixed with glassy silica material.
It was developed as an affordable alternative to the blue stone lapis lazuli, which was far more valuable. The color blue was associated with the life-giving Nile River and also the goddess Hathor.
How knowledgeable you are!