2009/05/10

From manure to jewelry

The unlikely evolution of the dung beetle.

Typical Egyptian scarab ring with cartouched scarab set in golden swivel ring



In the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, the use of the dung beetle (also called: scarab) as a symbol became common. The dung beetle's rolling of dung into a ball was seen as an earthly symbol of the heavenly cycle. Cut in bone, ivory, stone, Egyptian faience, or precious metals they were often incorporated into tombs, as grave goods, or given as 'gifts'. Over centuries till our days, to people with a fascination for the art and beliefs of ancient Egypt, the scarab is an item of popular interest.

In the past 200 years, Ancient Egypt has been a rich source of inspiration to art and fashion worldwide for at least three times. We call these three periods the Egyptian revivals or Neo-Egyptian styles and they are divided as follows:
  1. the first one was initiated by Napoleon Bonaparte's Egyptian Campaign, circa 1797
  2. the second by the construction of the Suez Canal in 1859 and its official opening in 1869
  3. the third by the discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamun in November 1922

We think the ring pictured here is made in Egypt somewhere between 1920 and 1930. Perhaps not even made as a result of the third Neo-Egyptian revival but just to sell to tourists. It could also be questionable if the scarab is originally from the Ancient Egyptian era or specially made to look old, as there are no reasons to believe that the tourist industry in general has changed over the years.




Antiqualy yours,

The Adin team
www.adin.be





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