This dish is in the shape of a stylized scallop shell with the lobes of the shell converging in a small bird's head. Shell-shaped dishes, often called forme di pasticceria or patisserie moulds, were produced in both bronze and silver. Bronze examples tended to be part of a women's toilette set used as a scoop for water during ablutions: cf. P. Roberts, Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum, 2013, p. 129-130, fig. 137, and also Rediscovering Pompeii, exhibition catalogue, IBM Gallery of Science and Art, Rome, 1990, p. 190, no. 86. Finer silver examples formed part of dining sets, and appear to have been used as finger bowls.