Year: 664-332 a.C.
Dimension: Higth 5,5 cm
Beautiful gray-green patina, encrustation
Late Period 334-332 B.C. An extremely fine bronze statuette of the goddess Bastet in the form of a cat hollow cast and well modelled, depicted seated on its haunches in alert position, with the straight forelegs tapering, the tail wrapped around the right side of the body, the erect head frontal on the thick cylindrical neck, with strong shoulders and rounded breast, the triangular ears rounded at their peaks, the tin eyes bulging, the face bisected by the long ridged nose, wearing incised ornamental neck lace.
Bastet was one of the most popular goddesses of ancient Egypt. She is generally thought of as a cat goddess. However, she originally had the head of a lion or a desert sand-cat and it was not until the New Kingdom that she became exclusively associated with the domesticated cat. She personified the playfulness, grace, affection, and cunning of a cat as well as the fierce power of a lioness. She was also worshiped all over Lower Egypt, but her cult was centred on her temple at Bubastis in the eighteenth nome of Lower Egypt (which is now in ruins). Bubastis was the capital of ancient Egypt for a time during the Late Period, and a number of pharaohs included the goddess in their throne names. Cats were sacred to Bastet, and to harm one was considered to be a crime against her and so very unlucky. Her priests kept sacred cats in her temple, which were considered to be incarnations of the goddess. When they died they were mummified and could be presented to the goddess as an offering. The ancient Egyptians placed great value on cats because they protected the crops and slowed the spread of disease by killing vermin. As a result, Bastet was seen as a protective goddess. Evidence from tomb paintings suggests that the Egyptians hunted with their cats (who were apparently trained to retrieve prey) and also kept them as loved pets. Thus it is perhaps unsurprising that Bastet was so popular