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Home > Auctions > 22nd February 2022 > 'The Miller' Egyptian Bronze Seated Cat

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LOT 0002

GBP (£) 8,000 - 10,000
EUR (€) 9,600 - 12,000
USD ($) 10,890 - 13,610

Bid History: 1   |   Current bid: £7,200

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Bid History: 1   |   Current bid: £7,200

'The Miller' Egyptian Bronze Seated Cat

Saite Period, 26th Dynasty, 664-525 BC

A bronze cat modelled seated, its tail wrapped around one side of its body and resting on a front paw, wearing a pendant collar featuring a large udjat amulet, the sacred Eye of Horus, two socketted tenons below; mounted on a 1920's custom-made displayed stand. 445 grams total, 10.5cm high (15cm high including stand) (4" (6")). Fine condition.

Hagi Hessein, Cairo, Egypt, circa 1920s; said to be from Bubastis, the ancient Egyptian city in the Nile River delta north of Cairo. Accompanied by the printed business card (1920s) of 'Hagi Hessein Abd-el-Salaam. Address: Heret El-Zahar Opposite Shepheard’s Hotel Cairo. By Permission from the Egyptian Museum Cairo. Licence No 27. Everything Guaranteed', written description on reverse: 'One bronze Goddess of Baskt in the form of a cat, Goddess of Peace Truth Happiness this is the guarantee that the above object found at Bubastis on the Delta from 18th Dyn 11350 BC [sic] Price P.T.  1000 = £10', signed by the dealer H H Abd-el-Salam; also with descriptive note on Shepheard’s Hotel headed notepaper reiterating 'found in temple'.
Private collection, 1976.
Christie's, London, 25 October 2006, lot 180.
Private collection of the late David Miller, a prominent Hertfordshire collector and numismatist.
Accompanied by an old colour photograph and copies of the relevant Christie's catalogue pages. Accompanied by a cataloguing sheet by Egyptologist Peter Clayton.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.11041-182588.

Cf. similar cat on display in the Capitoline Museum, Rome, Italy, accession number 18292; Scott, N.E., The cat of Bastet, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, xvii [1] Summer 1958, New York, 1-7; see also Malek, J., The Cat in Ancient Egypt, London, 1993.

The cat was the most sacred animal in ancient Egypt and associated with the cat-headed goddess Bastet, daughter of Re. When represented in human form as a cat-headed female she usually holds a sistrum (a musical rattle) in her right hand with a supine cat on its top, and an aegis in her left. Small kittens are often shown at her feet. Her most important cult centre was at Bubastis (Tell Basta) in the north-east Delta. The site today is heavily ruined and the temple destroyed. Sir Flinders Petrie excavated at Bubastis and other nearby Delta sites in the 1880s. Tombs of some of the temple officials have been found nearby and vast cemeteries of mummified cat burials left as votive offerings; so many thousands were found that they were used locally as fuel. Since Petrie’s investigations the site has been abandoned and only in recent years have excavations begun to be undertaken. In painted nobles’ tombs at Thebes, a cat is often represented seated beneath the chair of the noble’s wife. In the 5th century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote that the festival of Bastet at Bubastis was the most elaborate of all those in Egypt. The Roman geographer Strabo wrote that the cat was so revered in Egypt that an Egyptian dashed into his burning house to save the cat, then returned to rescue his family.