< Back to collection


Cat and Mouse

A mouse, which scholars have interpreted as either an obese and thus prosperous nobleman or as a noblewoman with bared breast, is approached by a scrawny cat that acts as a servant. The servant cools the mouse with a fan while presenting a bolt of cloth and a trussed goose, The scene may have been intended as a satire on upper-class life in the Ramesside Period, or it may have illustrated a popular fable in which the natural roles of cats and mice were reversed.

Catalogue Description:
Limestone ostracon with ink drawing of a standing tabby cat on the left offering a feather fan and plucked goose to a seated female mouse (right). The mouse has drooping breasts, wears a long skirt and has a flower on her forehead. She holds a dish in her right hand, and holds a flower? and cloth (often held by pharaohs) in her left hand. The cat also holds a similar cloth. The mouse is seated on a folding stool with animal legs and covered with an animal hide with the tail hanging over the edge of the stool. It is similar to numerous folding stools in XVIII Dynasty painting. Traces of white paint are on the body of the mouse. It is possibly a caricature or illustration to a current fable or perhaps a satire of the royal family. Condition: Good, several small chips on surface of the piece.


Brooklyn Museum Logo