Bottle in the form of a bulti fish - ROM2016_15062_21


Bottle in the form of a bulti fish

Medium:Ceramic (earthenware), modelled and painted
Geography: Undetermined site, Egypt
Date: c. 1550-1295 BC
Period: 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom
9 x 15.2 x 6.7 cm
Object number: 963X188
Not on view

Fish-shaped vessels are known from the New Kingdom, being made in faience and glass as well as in ceramic.  This bottle is in the shape of a bulti fish or "tilapia nilotica."  Because of the mouth-brooding habits of this fish, the tilapia was associated with the creative force of the god Atum and became a symbol of rebirth in ancient Egypt. As such, the tilapia was depicted in New Kingdom tomb paintings and in the minor arts of the period, such as this vessel. The contents of vases such as this were probably cosmetics or expensive oils.

Clay has been pushed into two open moulds and joined together to form the vessel. The rim of the bottle is located at the fish's mouth. Rows of short lines painted in black decorate the body. The fins are decorated with black stripes. The dorsal fin ends in a strap handle also decorated with black stripes. The handle allows the vessel to be hung in an upright position. The ticks on the rim indicate a date no later than Amenhotep III. The eye and tail ridges have been incised. A small hole has been pierced in the base of the vessel.

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