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I am really very pleased to announce that Dr Franco Magnarini whose fairly recent publication Catalogo Ragionato Di Una Collezione Di Scarabei-Sigillo Egizi, an extremely interesting and useful catalogue of his own collection has been a very welcome addition to the literature on Egyptian scarabs will be contributing articles to this website.
Franco has previously contributed inumerable articles to the well known Italian language website Archaeogate.
(Archaeogate was a very interesting a portal for Italian archaeologists which also published preliminary reports of Italian excavations.
Most of the contents were in Italian but many were in English and very useful to an international audience. Sadly this website closed down several years ago)
These can be accessed here.
Franco has also previously contributed to this website and these contributions can been see here
Catalogo Ragionato Di Una Collezione Di Scarabei-Sigillo Egizi
This volume forms an illustrated catalogue of 430 scarabs, in the author's own collection, which are representative of types manufactured throughout the Pharaonic period. Arranged by design motif, the catalogue presents scarabs decorated with linear patterns, scrolls and spirals, Egyptian signs and symbols, circles and crosses, animals and humans, mythological figures and gods, and those inscribed with the names of pharaohs or mottoes. Each page contains one entry; the scarab is photographed, illustrated and described in Italian and in English. The introduction, which is also presented in English translation, describes the use, manufacture and function of Egyptian scarabs. 502p, b/w illus
(BAR S1241, 2004) ISBN-10: 1841713635 ISBN-13: 9781841713632
Available from many online booksellers and definitely essential reading for all interested in scarabs
Franco has kindly allowed the English preface to his book, along with the glossary, to be publishe here as well.
Franco's collection is now on dsiplay at the National Archaeological
Much of the collection is now online: CLICK HERE
THE HUNT IN THE DESERT
By Dr Franco Magnarini
Hunting scene and motifs, involving both men and animals is one of the oldest subjects in figurative art. It has featured since predynastic times and lasted the entirety the of the ancient Egyptian civilization.
In the desert hunting scenes painted in graves, from the end of the Old Kingdom and during all the Middle Kingdom, the deceased is present in person armed with a bow. Escaping prey are numerous and of many kinds, pursued by the hunter and by dogs1.
On scarabs, hunting scenes appeared only from the first half of the second millenium B.C. and subsequently became reasonably frequent especially between the second half of the XX and XXI Dynasty. Keel 2 documents many items, all dating to that period.
Characteristic of this of this group is a unitary style with deep engraving and the dynamism and vitality of these scenes.
The movement of the scenes is rendered remarkably effectively and avoids putting the protagonist, the hunter, in the centre: this would have created a static quality to the scene. In the centre are the escaping prey which convey the sense of movement; the limited space on the scarabs obliges the maker to depict only two or three animals.
In this group two elements are almost constantly present: the man, often an archer, and the hare which joins other animals, almost always positioned at the centre top. The frequency of this animal, the hare, which is common in the desert zone, appearing in these scenes, might be to symbolically indicate the desert where the scene is played out , or was added simply to create a plurality of wild animals.
The subject of this example is a dog (or a lion) gripping with it's claws at a running hare (the correct attitude because the running hare keeps it's ears upright) At the top, an horizontally placed ankh sign. See parallels PETRIE 3, KEEL 4 (in which, on the right, is an archer and the animals are deemed a lion and a capridae), HORNUNG 5 (this too shows an archer and animals deemed lion and capridae) and NEWBERRY 6.
This plaque shows a well "drawn" archer stretching his bow. On the right in the scene, a man seems to confront an animal (lion? dog?).
In the piece at the top an archer aims at an animal, probably an antelope; at the top is the hare. See KEEL 7, HORNUNG 8 (he reads the animals as dog and ibex), PETRIE 9. In the similar piece below it, there is an other man opposite to the archer. The prey seems to be a lion, and over its back, one can see the hare again.
Here the scene depicts an unarmed man, a sitting beast (a large feline, maybe a cheetah) and an ibex. At the top, a palm branch, probably representing the desert or acting as a filler motif. Tame cheetahs were used for hunting and are represented in wall paintings (Theban grave of vizir Rekhmira) 10: in this case, it is interesting that there is no bow in the man's hands.
In this scarab, the archer on the left seems to aim at a rider. So the scene is of a battle; late Ramesside period. See KEEL 11.
More on scarabs by Franco Magnarini>>>.
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