H. 4.8 cm (1 7/8 in.); W. 2.5 cm (1 in.); L. 5.7 cm (2 1/4 in.)
Gift of Darius Ogden Mills, 1904
Not on view
Bastet was a powerful goddess of Lower Egypt, one who was protective and could bring about great prosperity. In zoomorphic form, she was represented as a cat and cats were considered sacred to her. This cat sits on a menat-shaped base in a recumbant pose, with its tail wrapped along its right side. It is poised and alert, on guard against external forces. An inscription encircles the base.
Cat statuettes were among some of the most common zoomorphic dedications of the Late and Ptolemaic Periods. Small statuettes like this one would have been dedicated as offerings to temples or deposited in catacombs alongside cat mummies, as at the extensive catacombs at Bubastis and Saqqara. Sometimes larger hollow examples held a cat mummy inside.
Collection of Judge Elbert E. Farman, formed when he was U.S. consul general in Egypt 1876–84. Donated to the museum by Darius Ogden Mills, New York, in 1904.