Mummified cat - ROM2018_16338_7


Mummified cat

Medium:Bone and linen
Geography: Egypt
Date: c. 100 AD
Period: Roman Empire
37 × 6.7 × 8.5 cm
Object number: 910.169.6
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

    Cats were valued in ancient Egypt for their beauty and motherly qualities as well as for their usefulness in fighting off mice and snakes and their ability to see in the dark. As hunters and fighters, cats were associated with the sun god, Re, and as beautiful, devoted mothers, with the goddess Bastet. Cats also evoke fertility and sexuality.

        There are many theories about the popularity of animal cults in Late Period Egypt, and about the reason for mummifying and burying vast numbers of cats, ibises, and other animals. It may be that the animal’s soul was seen as a messenger between the world of humans and the world of the gods. Unfortunately for us, the ancient Egyptians never wrote the explanation for their practice of animal mummification

        This particular cat, with its beautiful wrapping, dates to the Roman period. Modern x-ray images show that there is, indeed, an intact young cat inside.  Like most mummified cats, this particular feline was deliberately killed in order to pass from this world to the next.

        EgyptRoman World
        If you see an error or have additional information, please contact us by clicking here.