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british museum, Nov-2005 370 1

 
The 'Gayer-Anderson Cat', Bronze dating to the Late Period, c.664-332 BC, British Museum.
 
This fine representation of the cat-goddess Bastet was placed as an offering by a wealthy official, possibly at the principal cult centre of Bastet at Bubastis in the northeast Nile Delta. Catacombs beneath the site have yielded hundreds of mummified cats.

The cat wears jewellery and a protective Ujedjat amulet. A winged scarab appears on the chest and another scarab on the head. The eyes were originally inlaid with precious stone, now lost. The figure was probably tan-coloured when made. Its current dark green bronze colour is a result of polishing in modern times.
The statue is the most famous of Robert Gayer-Anderson's (1881-1915) collection of oriental art and pharaonic antiquities - from the 1920s, he lived in a 16th century house in the centre of Islamic Cairo, which is now open to the public as the Gayer-Anderson House.

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