Cosmetic Dish

M11873

On display

Flat cosmetic dish with circular depression on one side, and underside carved in the form of a tilapia fish, with a baby fish held in the mouth. Eye, gill, fins and scales are incised in detail. Dorsal fin is chipped. Tilapia fish were symbols of fertility and rebirth. This is due to the spawning habits of these fish, who take up the newly laid eggs into their mouth until they are hatched. The appearance of the young fish from the mother’s mouth must have suggested self-propagation to the Egyptians and hence the association with rebirth.