Ancient Egypt, Third Intermediate Period or later, ca. 1000 to 332 BCE. A mummified Nile perch, a type of fish sacred to the goddess Neith. The mummified fish was bound with a few strands of palm fiber which are visible in the included X-ray images, especially around the tail. It was then wrapped tightly in linen bandages with some bandages near the head a darker color to create a pattern on the mummy - a common practice with animal mummies. The fish was likely mummified at Esna, on the west bank 55 km south of Luxor. This city was also known as Latopolis, in honor of the Nile perch, Lates niloticus. The fish was abundant in this stretch of the river and appears in numerous sculptures and other sacred artwork. Size: 3.1" W x 19" H (7.9 cm x 48.3 cm); size of plastic case: 6.2" L x 22.2" W x 4.35" H (15.7 cm x 56.4 cm x 11 cm)
The ancient Egyptians mummified many different animals, especially those sacred to their various gods - though they also mummified beloved pets and animals intended to be food in the afterlife. This fish, and millions more, were mummified as votive offerings - made by priests, and sold to pilgrims and worshippers who wished to gain the favor of the deity with that animal form. This authentic example is a rare one, as X-ray technology has revealed many "mummies" to have been ancient fakes - made by unscrupulous Egyptians selling linen wrappings of dirt, broken pottery, wood, or other materials to the gullible.
Provenance: private J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA, acquired around 2008 to 2009; ex-Ancient Resource, Los Angeles, California, USA
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