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Tilapia Fish
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Tilapia Fish

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Fish were not only a major staple in the diet of the ancient Egyptians, but many species were also related to gods. This exceptional fish pendant depicts a "Tilapia nilotica," a common species in the Nile. It was appreciated for its taste, and was also regarded as a symbol of rebirth and resurrection because it carries its eggs in its mouth and was, therefore, believed to be self-created. Carnelian was very popular in the New Kingdom and was used especially for rings, pendants, and other items of jewelry.
Date Description Narrative
10/19/1978Examinationexamined for condition
  • Jewelry - Ancient to Modern. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1979-1980.
  • Egypt's Golden Age: The Art of Living in the New Kingdom (1558-1085 B.C.). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston; Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston; The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1982-1983.
  • Bedazzled: 5,000 Years of Jewelry from the Walters Art Museum. Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota; The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2006-2009.
  • Bedazzled: 5,000 Years of Jewelry. El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso. 2010.
  • Egypt’s Mysterious Book of the Faiyum. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2013-2014.
  • Die Entstehung der Welt. Ägyptens letzter Schöpfungsmythos (The Origin of the World. Egypt’s Last Creation Myth). Roemer- und Pelizaeus- Museum, Hildesheim; Kunsthalle Leoben, Leoben. 2014-2015.
Provenance William Tyssen-Amherst, London, [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Collection of Lord Carmichael of Skirling [a few miles north of Biggar, Scotland] [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Antiquities of the Collection of the Late Lord Carmichael of Skirling Sale, Sotheby and Company, London, June 9, 1926, p. 22, lot 233 (19); Dikran Kelekian, New York and Paris, 1926, by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1926, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1926

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ca. 1390-1295 BCE (New Kingdom, late Dynasty 18)
carnelian, gold
(Precious Stones & Gems)
Accession Number
H: 11/16 x W: 1 1/4 x D: 1/4 in. (1.8 x 3.2 x 0.7 cm)
  • Egypt (Place of Origin)

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