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Mother Cat Nursing Kittens

Culture Egyptian
Title Mother Cat Nursing Kittens
Date 664–332 BCE
Medium Bronze
Dimensions Object: 2 × 4 in. (5.1 × 10.2 cm)
Overall: 2 × 4 in. (5.1 × 10.2 cm)
Credit Line Burton Y. Berry Collection, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 69.135.5

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About this Work

This statuette of a cat and her kittens, a type popular in the late period, is remarkably naturalistic. It calls attention to the female cat’s fertility and ability to protect its young.

Cats were valued in Egyptian society as mousers and, over time, cats became associated with magical powers. They may have become linked to several powerful goddesses with feline characteristics, such as Sekhmet, the lion-headed goddess, and Bastet, the cat-headed goddess. Many cat statuettes were created as votive offerings; moreover, cats themselves were protected so that they, in turn, would act as spiritual guardians of the household.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

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"Mother Cat Nursing Kittens | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.