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EA1543

A Published Egyptian faience Oxyrhynchus Fish amulet, Late Period, 722-332 BC

The Oxyrhynchus fish, Mormyrus kannume, was the most revered of Egyptian fish. Aelian related that "whenever fish are netted, they search the nets in case this famous fish has fallen in without their noticing it. And they would rather catch nothing than have the largest catch that included this fish." The Oxyrhynchus fish has a distinctive down curved snout and dorsal ridge and in spite of the taboos recorded, it is shown being caught for food. The fish was worshipped at the site of Behnesa and associated with the god Seth. It was also believed to have swallowed the phallus of the dismembered Osiris. A large number of bronze examples, often shows with an elaborate crown, are known from the Saite and Late Dynastic Periods. This example in light blue glass frit is difficult to judge whether it was originally an inlay part of some piece of funeral furniture or an independent amulet included in the burial.

Published:   D'Auria, Sue, Lacovara, Peter, Roehrig, Catharine H. 'Mummies & Magic: The Funerary Arts of Ancient Egypt', Museum of Fine Arts Boston (1988), page 244 #209

Dimensions:Height: Maximum: 2 3/8 x 1 1/4" (6 x 3.2 cm)

Condition:Loss to tail as illustrated in MFAB publication, otherwise intact and in very good condition overall.

Provenance:  Private NY collection, on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, before 1988 - 1998, thereafter on loan to the Michael C. Carlos museum, Emory University, Atlanta GA 1998 - 2015, loan number: L1998.062.080

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