Flying Scarabs

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Glazed composition Ram-headed Scarab Palque, about 747 BC

Work in the Antiquities department of World Museum continues with our drive to create new catalogue records on a new collections database (called Mimsy) to replace earlier inaccurate and incomplete databases. There are over 50,000 items in the collection, so this is quite a challenge but it's very rewarding when you can share information about the collection with the public. This month graduate student volunteers are recording our collection of funerary scarabs that were once stitched on to the mummy wrappings or incorporated into bead nets placed over the mummy during the Late Period (about 747 – 332 BC). Some of the scarabs have horizontal wings with detailed feathering. The one in this photograph lacks wings but has the most interesting iconography. It's an oval plaque with a ram headed scarab holding the shen hieroglyphic sign between his hind legs, denoting infinity. There are 27 perforations for sewing round the edge. It was part of the amazing gift of antiquities Joseph Mayer gave to the people of Liverpool in 1867 and it now bears the inventory number M14133.