Egyptian Faience Amulet of a Cat

£ 2,500.00

An Egyptian amulet of a sitting cat made from turquoise faience. The feline is depicted seated, her weight braced upon her bent hind legs, tucked into her body. Her forelegs are elegantly straight, leading to a curved chest. A narrow and elongated face follow, moulded with feline features and topped with two large pointed ears. There is a large suspension hoop to the rear and an integral base on which the cat sits. The amulet has been made in turquoise faience, now faded slightly to green, with additional patches of black.

Date: Circa 945 - 525 BC
Period: Third Intermediate Period - Late Period, Dynasty 22 - 26
Provenance: Ex AH private collection. Acquired from the 1980s. Purchased by St James Ancient Art in 2023.
Condition: Excellent
Product Code: ES-165
Category: Tags: ,

The faience technique used here, with its spotted pattern, was characteristic of dynasties 22 to 26. The centre of production was the eastern Delta, in particular Bubastis and Tanis. This was an area where people from the Near East had long been interwoven into the native Egyptian population. As a result, artistic styles and techniques were a fusion of both cultures.

The goddess Bastet was considered to be the daughter of Ra, the sun god, and was originally shown with the features of a lion up until about 1000 BC when she started being portrayed as a cat or human with a cat head. The maternal, protective and hunting characteristics of the cat were the most obvious in Bastet and she is seen as a protector of pregnant women and young children. Amulets in the shape of Bastet would have been worn particularly by women not only to place themselves under the patronage of the goddess, but also in the hope that the wearer might be endowed with the goddess’ fecundity.

To discover more about amulets in the Ancient Egyptian world, please visit our relevant post: Amulets in Ancient Egypt.

Weight 16.7 g
Dimensions L 4 x W 1.6 x H 5.2 cm
Egyptian Mythology



Black Faience, Turquoise Faience


North Africa

Reference: For similar large cat: The British Museum, London, item EA26239

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