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Late Dynastic Bronze Sculpture of a Cat - FZ.387
Origin: Egypt
Circa: 600 BC to 500 BC
Dimensions: 4.5" (11.4cm) high x 1.625" (4.1cm) wide
Catalogue: V29
Collection: Egyptian
Style: Late Dynastic Period
Medium: Bronze

*CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE*

Ancient Egyptians venerated cats for their ability to keep down the rodent population the economically important grain fields along the Nile. They were kept as pets in the home and assisted hunters by retrieving their small birds like dogs do today. Because they were economically useful and believed to ensure many children for a family, cats were so revered that they were mummified and buried either with their owners or in specially designated cemeteries. The Egyptians even had a cat goddess, called Bast or Bastet, who was depicted with the body of a woman and the head of a cat.

Clearly this cat was adored in its own time. Pierced ears, originally ornamented with earrings long vanished, attest to the cat’s favored status. A necklace has also been draped over its head not unlike a collar. Perhaps this bronze sculpture served as a memorial reminder of a deceased pet. Maybe the sculpture was buried along with the cat’s owner in place of the animal itself. While the original purpose of this delightful sculpture is lost to us today, we can still appreciate its remarkable naturalist beauty. The cat sits in a typical feline stance, resting on its hind legs, supporting its torso on two sinuous legs. The tail wraps around the side, combining with the two paws in front where the sculptor has delineated the actual toes of the feet. The artist has successfully transferred the adoration once relished upon this animal into bronze. - (FZ.387)

 

 

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