Abstract This case study of 79 unprovenanced scarabs and scaraboid amulets in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art addresses glyptics, miniaturisation, distribution, and reception. Meaning and function can only be examined by broadening our investigatory criteria outside of the norm (typological and categorical) to included semiotic, anthropological and psychological factors, allowing an understanding of a scarab as a powerful social tool, not only tied to personal religious beliefs, but also to state propaganda, as well as state cultic powers, i.e., the king and his cosmic, ritualistic role in ancient Egyptian cosmology and society. The multiple grammatical and symbolic meanings of the abstractions found on scarab bases seem purposely intended to fulfil multiple functions at one and the same time.

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