Limestone Jar in Form of a Tilapia

Culture: Egyptian
Period: Ptolemaic Period, 332-30 B.C.
Material: Limestone
Dimensions: 8.5 cm x 17 cm
Price: Sold
Ref: 1321
Provenance: Christie's London auction on 2 December 1970, lot 114. Thence collection Michael Rice, London (1970-2013).
Condition: Tail and dorsal fins missing.
Description: Fragment of a life-size limestone statue of a tilapia with an open mouth, serving as the spout. Scales, eyes and gills are finely engraved in the stone, the fins and lips sculpturally worked out. Already in the pre-dynastic period the edible fish from the Nile was of high importance, not only as food, but also as a divine symbol. Since it raised its brood in the mouth it symbolized rebirth, the tilapia was also the companion of the sun barque on its journey through the night. The vessel definitely had a special, possibly spiritual function. Possibly it contained scents or parfums for ceremonies. Mounted.