Cat wasn’t the only sacred animal in Egypt. Bubastis, situated on the east of the Nile Delta, was a major center for the worship of Bast. Even when a pet cat died, elaborate funerary rituals were held in its honor, and the entire family would go into deep mourning. Dogs were valued for their ability to protect and hunt, but cats were thought to be the most special. There were two main breeds of cat native to Ancient Egypt. Most tomb paintings representing household scenes have depictions of cats either playing, feeding, or just resting. Because domestic cats were known for their mysterious and secretive nature and also possessed an ability to see in the dark, Bast and all her earthly manifestations came to be associated with the Underworld―the realm of the dead. Wooden and bronze statuettes of cats were also made and sold, especially for funerary purposes, but also sometimes for decorative purposes. See more ideas about Ancient egypt, Cats in ancient egypt, Egypt. Moreover, the men of the household would shave their eyebrows to express their sorrow. The Nile valley is one of the most fertile regions of the world, and it has been supporting human habitation since almost 9,000 years. While all the other ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses are depicted in the form of big cats―mainly lions―only Goddess Bast was represented as a domestic cat. The Ancient Egyptians had Bastet and Sekhmet among other feline deities, and cats were even held in higher regard than men, drawing from the fact that harming a cat was an act punishable by death. As a sign of mourning, the cat owners shaved off their eyebrows, and continued to mourn until their eyebrows grew back. Her role in the ancient Egyptian culture earned more importance than the goddess Mafdet over the years. They Loyally Join Along in Activities. Each year, a festival was held at Bubastis in honor of the goddess, and people from every nook and corner of Egypt, flocked to the place. Several ancient Egyptian deities were depicted and sculptured with cat-like heads such as Mafdet, Bastet and Sekhmet, representing justice, fertility and power. We've created informative articles that you can come back to again and again when you have questions or want to learn more! Owing to this, cats came to be regarded as protectors of evil by the ancient Egyptians, and were domesticated by them. If we consider lions as cats, the cult of the Lion-headed Goddess, Sekhmet, was prominent. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. In the city of Per-Bast, a beautiful temple was built, and people came from all over to experience its splendor. The punishment for killing or harming (even accidentally) even a stray cat in Egypt was death. But if you think that modern folks are cat-crazy you should have been around in Ancient Egypt. The sanctity of felines in Egypt’s ancient times traces back to the belief that these animals have divine powers given by Bastet herself. Cats were a popular pet in ancient Egypt and closely associated with the goddess Bastet (also known as Bast) who appears in Egyptian art with the body of a woman and the head of a cat or as a sitting cat in a regal pose. Sign up to receive the latest and greatest articles from our site automatically each week (give or take)...right to your inbox. Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practices of ancient Egypt for more than 3,000 years. Facts about Egyptian Cats 3: Bast. The most widespread belief was that domestic cats carried the divine essence of Bastet (or Bast), the cat-headed goddess who represented fertility, domesticity, music, dance and pleasure. Ancient Cat in Today's Egypt Animals were revered for different reasons. The presence of tabby cats in ancient Egypt is further supported by a recent genetic study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. In this study … Everyday Amr feeds stray cats because they cannot always find food for themselves. Cats in ancient Egypt were mummified and buried in large quantities, hence held a special place in the culture of Ancient Egypt. Famously devoted to these furry creatures —calling them miw onomatopoetically—the Egyptians mummified deceased cats and depicted them in paintings and sculptures. Though hard for many people to believe, cats would often join … Cat figurines were also placed outside houses and shrines, in order to ward off evil spirits. As we know from archeological evidence, cats … Hartwig wants to make one thing clear, though: Egyptians did not worship cats, but they did believe that cats held a bit of divine energy within them. Owing to this, the cult’s reach and popularity declined to a great extent. 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