Bread in the shape of a mermaid



Marseilles, France

The Mucem’s collections are rich in objects related to the processing chain that transforms wheat into bread and in the utensils needed at each stage in its preparation, from kneading the dough to baking it to eating it. This lovely mermaid was acquired in 2004, along with more than 1,000 other breads, from a collector who had spent 15 years travelling across Europe in search of figurative shaped breads.
Since the Middle Ages, preparations made from flour dough, kneaded raw then baked in dry heat, like breads and pancakes, have occupied a central place in European diets, inherited from ancient Egyptian, Greek and Latin, civilizations. A necessary foodstuff whose presence guarantees social harmony, but whose absence is a source of despair and revolt, bread is omnipresent at every moment of our lives, including at the heart of the religious rites of sedentary peoples well before the advent of Christianity, which it should be noted did adopt the major celebration dates corresponding to the sowing and harvest seasons in its liturgical calendar. Breads and cakes – sometimes featuring animals but often humans, either plaited or intertwined, moulded or sculpted, or shaped like a star or a crown – are at the centre of traditions relating to fertility, death and faith.


  • Title: Bread in the shape of a mermaid
  • Date Created: 1996/2000
  • Physical Dimensions: 17 x 32 cm
  • Type: Flour, water and salt

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