Sarcophagus and Cat Mummy

Brooklyn Museum

About the work

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Cats kept as pets in Ancient Egypt were doted on by their owners. The wealthier the cat's owner, the more lavishly they lived and died. Domestic cats lived into old age and were buried with their owners to protect them in the afterlife. This sarcophagus for a cat is an example of the care taken in cat burials. The small, limestone box is painted with hieroglyphs and scenes. On one side a spotted cat is flanked by attendants, indicating its high status. On another side is a winged figure. The figure could be Horus or Isis, both winged deities. Isis was an emblem of rebirth as well as the mother of Bastet, the goddess associated with cats.

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