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An Egyptian Bronze figure of a Cat, 19th Dynasty, ca. 1295 -1069 BC

EB1802

hollow cast in the round using the lost wax method and elegantly proportioned, with naturalistic details, depicted seated with its forepaws together, its tail curving forward around the proper right side, the head with alert erect ears, the almond-shaped convex eyes with defined lids, the bridge of the nose ridged, the nostrils indented.

Background: The domesticated cat is probably associated more with ancient Egypt than any other culture in the world. It is mostly identified with the goddess Bastet, whose cult center was at Bubastis in the Nile Delta. Bubastis became particularly important when its rulers became the kings of Egypt, forming the Twenty-second Dynasty, sometimes known as the 'Libyan Dynasty'. The rise of the importance of Bastet and the cat can probably be dated to this period.  

As with other creatures sacred to particular deities, it became very popular in the Late Period (661-332 BC) to bury mummies of cats in special cemeteries as a sign of devotion to the goddess. A number of cat cemeteries are known from Egypt.

J. Malek, The cat in ancient Egypt (London, The British Museum Press, 1993)
J. Clutton-Brock, The British Museum book of cat (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)

Condition: The cat is intact and in very good condition overall, on original mount. 

Dimensions: Height 8.1 cm (3 1/4 inches)

Provenance:  Private Canadian collection since 1960's acquired in Egypt from S. Khodary M. El Gabry, Cairo, licensed dealer #84, accompanied by hand-written receipt from the dealer. 


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