Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Statuette of cat

Period:
Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
Date:
664–30 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Cupreous metal
Dimensions:
H. 11 cm (4 5/16 in.); W. 3 cm (1 3/16 in.); L. 6 cm (2 3/8 in.) H. (with tang): 12 cm (4 3/4 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Darius Ogden Mills, 1904
Accession Number:
04.2.598
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 cats often have special adornments, like earrings or broad collars. This figure wears an amulet on its chest, probably an aegis. 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. 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.

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