Fish-shaped palette

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

Findspot: Egypt, Mesaid, Tomb 102


Overall: 8.9 x 14.2 x 0.5 cm (3 1/2 x 5 9/16 x 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Cosmetic and medical

One of two palettes in the shape of a fish from the same tomb. They may represent the bulti fish, a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. Hole drilled from both sides on top for suspension; no indication of notching or eye. Tail is splayed. There are slight depressions on both sides that have evidence of grinding or pecking.


From Mesaid (Mesa'eed) tomb 102, no. 2 [M/102/2]. 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