Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Cat figurine

Period:
Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
Date:
664–30 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Cupreous metal
Dimensions:
H. 11.8 cm (4 5/8 in.); W. 4.5 cm (1 3/4 in.); L. 8.4 cm (3 5/16 in.) H. (with tang): 13.4 cm (5 1/4 in.)
Credit Line:
Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915
Accession Number:
30.8.104
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. This figure has ear piercings for earrings, probably of precious metal, an incised scarab on the top of its head, and a wedjet amulet hanging from its neck.

The wedjet eye, or Eye of Horus, was personified by the goddess Wadjet, who was closely linked with Bastet as both goddesses were feline protectors of Lower Egypt. Cat statuettes like this one 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.
Formerly Theodore M. Davis Collection. Bequeathed to the Museum by Davis, 1915; accessioned, 1930.

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