Insects

Insects of many different forms are depicted in ancient art and are used to symbolise many different ideas and characteristics as well as adding aesthetic value. Bees were popular cultural motifs in many places, as is evidenced by images of a ‘Bee Goddess’ dating back to the Bronze Age in Europe and the Near East. In Egypt, flies were used as a metaphor for bravery in battle in the New Kingdom, whilst scarabs were seen as one of the most sacred images due to the fact that the Egyptians likened scarabs rolling a ball of dung to the sun crossing the sky. Both insects were immensely popular in amulet form and scarabs in particular as grave goods. Chinese ceramic painting also frequently incorporates insects such as butterflies and bees into designs.