Fish-shaped palette

Predynastic Period
Naqada II, 3650–3300 B.C.

Findspot: Egypt, Mesaid, Tomb 102


Overall: 7.1 x 16 x 0.7 cm (2 13/16 x 6 5/16 x 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Cosmetic and medical

One of two palettes in the form of a fish from the same tomb. They may represent the bulti fish, a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. The palette is nearly complete, with minor chipping around tail and all-over surface scratching. Dorsal fins or scales are indicated by notching. The tail is small and not splayed. Eye and dorsal suspension holes are drilled. Eye hole is surrounded by three more incomplete drilled holes which do not perforate the stone.


From Mesaid [Mesa'eed] tomb 102, no. 1. [M/102/1]. 1910: Excavated by the Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; 1911: assigned to the MFA by the government of Egypt.

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition