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Home > Auctions > 1st December 2015 > Egyptian Gold Amulet of Bastet with Lapis Lazuli Inlays

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LOT 0038

GBP (£) 5,000 - 7,000
EUR (€) 5,920 - 8,290
USD ($) 6,380 - 8,940

1" (6.46 grams, 24mm).

A gold amuletic pendant of Bastet in the form of a sitting cat with suspension loop to the rear; the shoulders, flanks and haunches with inlaid panels of lapis lazuli.

Property of a London, UK, gentleman; acquired on the French art market in the early 20th century.

Accompanied by an Art Loss Register certificate.

See the Baron Empain collection, Christies, 14 April 2011, for similar.

The goddess Bastet was considered to be the daughter of the sun god and was originally shown with the features of a lion up until about 1000 BC when she is portrayed as a cat or human with a cat head. As the daughter of Ra she is associated with the rage inherent in the sun god's eye which was considered to be his instrument of vengeance. Her development into a cat goddess occurred some time around the New Kingdom but did not fully develop until the Late Period. She is still associated with the destructive power of the sun and is shown on the prow of the solar boat decapitating the evil serpent Apophis in the Book of the Dead. The maternal, protective and hunting characteristics of the cat are the most obvious in Bastet and she is seen as a protector of pregnant women and young children. In the Pyramid Texts she is invoked by the deceased king to act as his protector and to help him reach the sky to join the sun god, and the king proclaims that Bastet is his mother and nurse. Like her counterpart, Sekhmet, Bastet has an aggressive side and in a text from Karnak the Pharaoh Amenhotep II describes how his enemies are slaughtered like the victims of Bastet. The goddess had a shrine at Karnak where she is known as the "Lady of Asheru" which places her closely with the goddess Mut, the consort of Amun-Ra. Her most famous shrine was in the north-east Delta region at Bubastis and was known as Per-Bastet or "the House of Bastet." Herodotus describes the festival of Bastet as one of the most elaborate in all of Egypt and identifies her with the Greek Artemis. Cemeteris of cats have been excavated at not only Bubastis but also Saqqara and Memphis.