A bowl for a trophy

This golden bowl was a gift from the king of Egypt Thutmose III to the scribe Djehuty to thank him for his service. A royal scribe was a high official who worked for the administration or army of the king. The bowl is decorated with delicate details. Do you see the palmette (a sort of leaf resembling a palm tree) in the middle? And a ring of fish below a row of plants (papyrus, it would seem)?

These patterns evoke fishing, which was a hobby much enjoyed by Egyptian high officials. Look at this painted wall that shows a hunting and fishing scene. Can you spot the fish and papyrus?

The scene takes place on the banks of the Nile River, where papyrus grows. You can also see the plant on each end of the boats. This is a wild place that needs some order.  And that is just the job of the king’s high officials.  The person on the left is about to throw a stick at a flock of birds taking flight.  The person on the right is busy trying to catch two fish. One fish symbolises day and the other night. By catching them, a royal scribe becomes master over day and night.

The scribe Djehuty is believed to have helped Thutmose III capture the city of Japho (modern-day Jaffa in Israel). Here’s how.