The fish represented here is the Nile perch (or boltí), whose breeding habits attracted the Egyptians' attention. After the female perch lays her eggs, the fish draws them into her mouth, where they stay until they hatch and the young emerge. The Egyptians saw this as a kind of spontaneous generation and thus took the perch as a symbol of resurrection and rebirth. The figure is hollow and contains several clay pellets, representing the eggs. When shaken, the piece served as a rattle, perhaps to soothe a crying baby.
- Medium: Pottery, painted
- Geographical Locations:
- Dates: ca. 1390-1336 B.C.E.
- Dynasty: late XVIII Dynasty
- Period: New Kingdom
- Dimensions: 2 1/2 x 4 5/16 in. (6.3 x 11 cm) (show scale)
- Collections:Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
- Museum Location: This item is on view in Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Amarna Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
- Accession Number: 48.111
- Credit Line: Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
- Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
- Caption: Fish, ca. 1390-1336 B.C.E. Pottery, painted, 2 1/2 x 4 5/16 in. (6.3 x 11 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 48.111. Creative Commons-BY
- Catalogue Description: Painted pottery fish, interior hollow and fitted with six unpainted pottery pellets. Face area, tail, dorsal and anus fins and underbody painted light blue. Scales painted with black outline on tan background, in part colored blue and red. Eyes, mouth and gills incised. Anus in raised relief. Possibly a rattle but more probably a food offering intended to furnish supply of fish to deceased. Condition: Minor chips on tail and fins. Tail assembled from two pieces. When object was received in Museum in May 1948, tail had been put in position with fish glue, apparently recently. Tail area has been bored to reach interior to identify contents and then replaced. Tail replaced with cellulose acetate. Pellets probably represent eggs.
- Record Completeness: Best (88%)