Cat, ca. 1991–1783 B.C.; Dynasty 12
Egyptian alabaster (calcite); H. 5 1/2 in. (11.4 cm)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1990 (1990.59.1)


"The cat first appears in painting and relief at the end of the Old Kingdom, and this cosmetic jar is the earliest-known three-dimensional representation of the animal in Egyptian art. The sculptor demonstrates a keen understanding of the creature's physical traits, giving the animal the alert, tense look of a hunter rather than the elegant aloofness seen in later representations. The rock-crystal eyes, lined with copper, enhance the impression of readiness." - MET

Copyright © 2001 The Metropolitan Museum of Art - MET

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Bibliography on Ancient Art

The Art of Ancient Egypt, Revised by Robins, 272 Pages, Pub. 2008