• English
  • Cymraeg


Amarna fish-shaped palettes

Some of these could either be faience fish bowls or inlays. However, the shape of some makes clear that they are bowls. Marsh inlays were found in the Central City at Amarna (Kemp and Stevens 2010, 277-2780 and plate 19.8). Several fish faience fragments are known from Amarna (Pendlebury 1951, 31, 49.66) which Petrie (1894, 12, 28) identified as tableware fragments. The shape of these shows they are not the round bowls with marsh designs but rather shallow, fish-shaped bowls. Shallow, open fish-shaped dishes were known as early as the Middle Kingdom. It has also been suggested that fish bowls served as ointment dishes (Friedman 1998, 223).  Certainly fish-shaped cosmetic palettes in other materials were popular in the New Kingdom.



w230dW230d. This looks like the rim sherd of a faience fish bowl. 35mm long. Purchased by Wellcome at auction in 1924. A similar fish piece, identified as a plaque fragment, is illustrated in Friedman (1998, 223).  



w1268W1268. Coloured painted faience piece with fish scales. 50mm long. The reverse is slightly concave. Marked ‘356 C’ or ‘E’. Probably from Amarna. A piece identified as a fish bowl and with this number was found in the 1935 excavations at Amarna in the state apartments of the Great Palace . See Pendlebury (1951, 74) and the Cambridge Amarna web page database.  



w1269W1269. Part of a coloured faience fish bowl marked ‘356a’. 60mm wide. Probably from Amarna. The shape of this  piece suggests that it is part of a shallow bowl, as does the fact that the decoration is on both sides. A fish bowl of this number was found in the 1935 excavations at Amarna of the state apartments of the Great Palace (see Pendlebury 1951, p 74 and the Amarna web page database). Donated by the British Museum . 


W1270W1270. Painted fragment of a faience fish bowl or inlay from Amarna. 4cm long. Marked ‘217’ (the find number). Scales are painted on faience. The reverse is slightly concave. Excavated by the Egypt Exploration Society. The 1932 excavations of magazines by the royal estate unearthed a piece of faience with fish scales, presumably this object, numbered 32/217 (according to the Amarna web site hosted by Cambridge). See Pendlebury 1951, p. 111, house Q41.11.  

Further Reading  

Friedman, F.D. ed. 1998. Gifts of the Nile . Ancient Egyptian Faience. London : Thames and Hudson .  

Kemp, B. and Stevens, A. 2010. Busy Lives at Amarna: Excavations in the Main City

Pendlebury, J.D.S. 1951 The City of Akhenaten Part III The Central City and Official Quarters, Volume I. London : Egypt Exploration Society.  

 Petrie, W.M.F. 1894. Tell El Amarna. Warminster: Aris and Phillips.

Other items from Amarna