This fish amulet is made from gold with a green feldspar inlay. The amulet is open on both sides. The central cloisonné, to which are attached fins and tail, is roughly made from a strip of sheet metal curved around to make an oval shape. The inlay is a piece of feldspar which has been broken and repaired.
A disc of gold foil represents the head on each side of the inlay; on one of these discs a ring is soldered to represent the eye. Tail and fins are soldered on to the cloisonné; only one of the two lower fins is present. The fins are scored on one face only now, but one face is heavily rubbed and may have lost its details. The tail is scored on both faces to represent the natural ridges; it is strengthened on one face by the addition of a small rectangle of gold. A ring for suspension is attached at the nose.
In ancient Egypt certain fish were considered sacred because they were linked to a deity. One of these was the protective and benevolent Hatmehit, goddess-fish worshipped around the city of Mendes, in the Nile delta. In Egyptian art she could be represented as a fish or as a woman with a head surmounted by the emblem of a fish or by a “crown” decorated with a fish.
Middle Kingdom. ca. 2055-1650 BC. Now in the British Museum, London. EA30484