Inv. n°: MMoCA851

Egyptian Seated Cat

This finely cast hollow bronze cat is depicted wide-eyed and alert, seated on its haunches with a snaking tail that mischievously curls to its forepaws. Her muzzle has been neatly incised with radiating whiskers and her ears, which exhibit horizontal striations, are pricked as if listening. Slender in form and with high shoulders, she cuts a clean form displaying the sculpture's ability to capture both naturalness and energy, in a particularly complicated shape to cast. She wears a lion-headed aegis on her chest, which hangs from a cowrie shell necklace. In ancient Egyptian tradition, an aegis was a type of gorget (a suspended neck shield) that usually bore a lion-face and was associated with Bastet, the feline goddess of warfare. In the Late Period (664-332 BC), such figurines were often deposited as ex-votos in the temples of Bastet to honour the goddess and attract her protection on the donor. She has a bronze khepri-scarab on her forehead which has been carved in high relief. Khepri was the ancient Egyptian god of rebirth and the sunrise, and took the form of a beetle-headed man.

h. 22.2 cm

Late Period, Dynasty XXVI-XXX, 664-343 BC, Egypt

Bronze

Provenance

  • Private collection, prior to 1979
  • Christie’s, London, 28th November 1979, lot 231
  • Private collection, acquired at the above sale, Dublin
  • Christies, Antiquities - Sale 4925, London, South Kensington, 26th April 2012, lot 136
  • Acquired at David Aaron Gallery, London

Publications

  • Christie’s, 2th November 1979, London, lot 231
  • Christie's, Sale 4925, Antiquities, London, South Kensington, 2012-04-26, lot 136

Exhibitions

  • Musée d'Art Classique de Mougins (MACM), Mougins, France, from 2020

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