Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Cat figurine

Period:
Middle Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 12
Date:
ca. 1981–1802 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt; Possibly from Memphite Region, Heliopolis (Iunu; On)
Medium:
Blue faience with black spots, paint
Dimensions:
L. 6.2 cm (2 7/16 in.); W. 2.3 cm (7/8 in.); H. 3.8 cm (1 1/2 in.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926
Accession Number:
26.7.902
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 111
Already in the Early Dynastic Period, Egyptians deposited faience figurines of wild animals in temple precincts. These figurines were reintroduced in the Twelfth Dynasty, but as a component of burial equipment and with new species added to the repertoire. The controlled representation of desert animals may have assured the Egyptians of eternal safety, though they also likely had symbolic meanings. Cats were not yet fully domesticated in the Middle Kingdom.
Carnarvon Collection before 1923 (purchased by him from Maurice Nahman, Cairo). Purchased by the Museum from Lady Carnarvon, 1926.

Phillips, Dorothy W. 1942. Ancient Egyptian Animals, Picture Books (Metropolitan Museum of Art), New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, fig. 23.

Patch, Diana Craig 2015. "Wildcat Stalking." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 209–10, no. 147.

Yamamoto, Kei 2015. "Comprehending Life: Community, Environment, and the Supernatural." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 190.

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