Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Cat with image of Bastet on breast

Period:
Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
Date:
664–30 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Cupreous metal
Dimensions:
H. 20.5 cm (8 1/16 in.); W. 7.4 cm (2 15/16 in.); L. 13.5 cm (5 5/16 in.) H. (with tang): 23.4 cm (9 3/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Darius Ogden Mills, 1904
Accession Number:
04.2.471
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. As a cat, she is poised and alert, on guard against external forces.

Like cat-headed Bastet statuettes, these seated cat statuettes often have special adornments. This figure has inset eyes for the addition of inlay and also wears an amulet on its chest. Cat statuettes were among some of the most common zoomorphic dedications of the Late and Ptolemaic Periods. Small statuettes would have been dedicated as offerings to temples or deposited in catacombs alongside cat mummies, as at the extensive catacombs at Bubastis and Saqqara. This example is somewhat large and hollow, and though it is now empty, it may once have held the remains of a small cat mummy.
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.

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