Giraudon/Art Resource, NY

Divine beetle. Revered throughout Egyptian history, scarabs decorated amulets, jewelry and seals since the Old Kingdom (2686–2181 B.C.E.). Examples include a pectoral, jewelry often placed on the chest of a mummy, made of lapis lazuli and other semiprecious stones and recovered from the 14th-century B.C.E. tomb of Tutankhamun. Scarabs were associated in Egypt with the sun god and with creation because they were believed to push their balls of dung—from which young were thought to emerge without need of a mother—from east to west, as the sun moves.