Egyptian Cat Art
Egyptian cat art depicts cats’ dignity, majesty and beauty. You can see from the way Egyptians portrayed cats that they held cats and other felines in high regard.
If you are looking for an original gift for a cat lover who also loves Egyptian art, consider a gift of Egyptian cat art. Figurines, posters, and other collectibles featuring Egyptian cat-inspired art make great choices.
Felines in Ancient Egypt
One of the earliest appearances of cats in Egyptian history occurs in the eleventh dynasty (Middle Kingdom). Around this time, cats were domesticated and brought into the Egyptians’ homes, mainly to combat mice. During the New Kingdom, cats became highly esteemed household pets. Mummified cats have been found along side their - usually wealthy - owners. Later on, cats became sacred animals.
Indeed, Ancient Egyptians came to attribute divine-like powers to felines. Male cats were associated with the Sun God while female cats were believed to have magical attributes. Felines reached their highest point as they were regarded as the embodiment of gods and goddesses.
Cats also seemed to be a popular theme in Egyptian art as statues and other artifacts show. Indeed, cats are found in items such as amulets, mirrors, talismans, jewelry, statuettes, and other objects.
Notably, Eqyptian sphinxes, which served as temple guardians, depicted sitting lions with human heads (usually, these represented the heads of kings). The famous Great Sphinx of Giza is believed to depict the head of the pharaoh Khafra.
Egyptian Feline Goddesses
Bastet, also known as Bast, is the Egyptian goddess of fertility, childrearing and protection. Ancient Egyptians also believed that Bastet was the protector of the pharaoh. Priests would keep a cat in the temple, which was treated as the incarnation of Bastet.
Some representations of Bastet depict her as a part-cat, part-human deity. Other statues depict Bastet as a cat. Certainly, this cat-shaped goddess was very popular in Ancient Egypt and many statuettes and paintings depicting her have been found.
Sekhmet is the other feline Egyptian goddess. She represents a different aspect of the divine. Unlike the motherly and protective Bastet, Sekhmet represents dangerous strength and destructive power. She is the goddess of death, destruction and rebirth. Sekhmet is depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness.
Another Egyptian feline goddess is Mafdet.
Egyptian cat art - Gift Ideas
For the serious collector of Egyptian art, you can find statues, high-end jewelry, statuettes, and even antiques showcasing Bastet as well as other Egyptian-inspired cats.
But if you are on a budget, you can also find affordable options of Egyptian cat art that are sure to please your cat-loving friends. Posters, fine art prints, books, figurines, and low-priced collectibles make great choices. Also consider:
Books on Egyptian Art and History
--Egyptian Art by Alice Cartocci and Gloria Rosati
--Egyptian Art by Jaromir Malek
--Egyptian Decorative Art by W. M. Flinders Petrie (Editor) and W. M. Flinders
--Ancient Egyptian Art: Cards in Full Color (24 Cards) by the British Museum
--Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt by Barbara Mertz
Books about Cats in Egypt and more
--Cat in Ancient Egypt by Jaromir Malek
--Cairo Cats: Egypt's Enduring Legacy by Lorraine Chittock, Annemarie Schimmel (Introduction)
--Cat Mummies by Kelly Trumble and Laszlo Kubinyi (Illustrator)
-- When Cats Reigned Like Kings: On the Trail of the Sacred Cats by Georgie Anne Geyer
--Classical Cats: The Rise and Fall of the Sacred Cat by Donald W. Engels
Egyptian cats - Magical and Beautiful
Bastet - The Egyptian Cat Goddess
Mafdet - The Cheetah Goddess
The beautiful Egyptian Mau
Egyptian cat names
Cat Prints - Gift Ideas
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