Ring with Cat and Kittens

Ramesside/Third Intermediate Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 125

This ring depicts a cat and its kittens perched above a bound bundle of flowering papyrus designed to represent a marsh. In all likelihood, these elements symbolize the myth of the "Faraway Goddess," a story in which a feline plays a prominent role as a deity that must be coaxed back to the Nile Valley after she flees into the Nubian desert. Her desertion disrupts the ancient Egyptian world of "maat" and she must be brought back by a variety of personages so that Egypt returns to stability and order and prosperity. Elaborately carved faience rings typically date to this period when craftsmen had total mastery of the medium faience; this one is a superb example. Such rings were most likely created to celebrate various festivals held in honor of the deities depicted on the rings.

Ring with Cat and Kittens, Faience

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