One of the greatest treasures of The British Museum, this highly decorated sacred temple cat dates from c.600 BC and was donated by Major Robert Grenville Gayer- Anderson.
The domesticated cat is probably associated more with ancient Egypt than any other culture in the world. This cat is a particularly fine example of the many statues of cats from ancient Egypt.
Cast from a mould of the original, this regal looking cat wears gold earrings and a gold nose ring. Her silver- plated breastplate is decorated with the sacred eye of the god Horus, beneath which is an ornamental scarab and silvered disc.
This replica is handmade by a skilled UK-based sculptor.
More about the cat in Ancient Egypt
In Ancient Egypt it was believed that most deities were able to take the form of a sacred animal in order to appear on earth. Amun might disguise himself as a goose or a ram, Horus as a falcon. Not all members of a species were considered sacred, only those lucky enough to be chosen to live in a temple as the god's representative were revered. The only animal which the Egyptians seem to have held in total respect whether it was a pet or kept in a temple was the cat.
All Egyptian cats were descended from the wild Libyan desert cat with long legs, sharply pointed ears and brindled fur which is often depicted in Book of the Dead papyrus vignettes cutting up the evil serpent Apophis. The Greek historian Herodotus reported that in his time (about 450 BC) when a house caught fire the first thing to be saved was the house cat and that whole families went into mourning when their pet died. Small but elaborate coffins were made especially for the mummified remains of a favourite pet.
Read more about the Gayer-Anderson cat here