Egyptian Gold Fish Amulet


A cast gold amuletic bead in the form of a fish, with a suspension ring to the mouth. The fish has been crafted with careful attention to detail, boasting a tiny front fin, and with all fins intricately incised to depict their texture. Further diligence has been devoted to the face of the fish, and both sides are decorated in the same manner.

Date: Circa 332 - 30 BC
Period: Ptolemaic Period
Provenance: Acquired on the French art market in the early 20th century.
Condition: Fine condition with earthy encrustations on the surface.


SKU: AS-248 Category: Tag:

The Egyptians wore amulets alongside other pieces of jewellery. They were decorative, but also served a practical purpose, being considered to bestow power and protection upon the wearer. Many of the amulets have been found inside the wrappings of mummies, as they were used to prepare the deceased for the afterlife.

Fish were highly valued in Ancient Egypt, for as well as being an essential food source, fishing in the Nile provided the opportunity for relaxation and friendly competition. The fish in the Nile included Tilapia, tiger fish, eels, catfish, and elephant nosed-fish, and would be caught using nets, spears, and fishing lines, much like they are today. Many of the fish caught would then be prepared and taken to the market to sell.  Considering that amulets were often used to bring luck or protection to the wearer, perhaps this amulet was intended to ensure a good fish yield.

For the Egyptians, gold was the most precious of materials. Its colour signified divinity; it was the metal from which the flesh of the gods was formed; and the Book of the Dead demanded that all amulets be made from it. Egypt was a land rich in gold, and ancient miners used traditional methods to harbour the natural resource. The hieroglyph representing gold was founded in the First Dynasty, but the earliest surviving gold artefacts come from around the 4th Millennium BC.

Dimensions L 1.0 cm