Egypt; New Kingdom; Amenhotep III period; 1391-1353 BC
A fish in the centre surrounded by four lotus flowers decorate this simple dish in the turquoise colour, so typical of Egyptian faience. The pattern is simple but carries rich symbolic meaning linked to belief in the afterlife.
The fish is a species of tilapia nilotica that spawns in the Nile and carries the fertilized eggs in its mouth. Even after they are hatched the little fish can return to their mother's mouth if there is danger. This biological development led the fish to be taken to symbolize resurrection. The lotus is a mystical flower from which the sun is born. It gives strength to the deceased that he may be reborn as the sun is born again in the morning of the Creation.