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Bundle in Form of Cat Mummy

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

This linen bundle is filled with soil and stones. There are no remains. It is unclear whether such a fake mummy represents a corrupt practice or a less expensive means of making a request of the cat goddess Bastet.
CULTURE Egyptian
MEDIUM Linen, stones, soil, plant matter
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 664–30 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Late Period to Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 2 1/8 x 3 x 10 3/8 in. (5.4 x 7.6 x 26.4 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Brooklyn Museum Collection
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The object is a mummified form in the shape of a small cat. Radiographs indicate the absence of skeletal material. Slightly more radio-opaque areas in the head and torso are likely not animal remains at all, but rather compacted soil and plant material, added to give weight to the mummified form. This interior material is wrapped in strips of linen; this textile is plain woven with Z-spun flax threads. The inner wrappings, visible through a large rectangular loss in the outer wrappings along the torso, consist of thin strips of medium textured linen in alternating vertical and horizontal layers. The outer wrapping consists of a single sheet of medium textured linen bound at the neck and caudal end with thin, horizontally wrapped, thin linen strips. One narrow, folded strip of linen, attached underneath the binding around the neck, runs from the back of the neck over the top of the head. There are two ear-shaped appendages on either side of the head attached underneath binding strips around the neck; these forms are fashioned from folded strips of linen, possibly wrapped around a rigid core. The latter observation is based the relative opacity of these appendages in the radiographs and their stiffness. The outer wrappings, particularly those around the neck, are generally darker than the exposed inner wrappings. It should be noted that the bindings around the neck and caudal end are slightly waxy in appearance. Condition: Overall the object is in fair and stable condition. There is a large, rectangular loss in the outer wrapping along the torso; the size, shape and straight edges of this loss likely indicate that it was cut. The vertical edges of this loss are not attached to the inner wrappings and are lifting significantly. There are several additional losses in the outer wrapping; these appear to be torn rather than cut. The edges of the losses and of most of the linen strips are frayed and many are lifting slightly. There are several partially detached pieces of linen on the top of the head and on the tip of the proper right ear. The proper left ear is loosely attached. The wrappings are generally stained, soiled and dusty.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Egyptian. Bundle in Form of Cat Mummy, 664–30 B.C.E. Linen, stones, soil, plant matter, 2 1/8 x 3 x 10 3/8 in. (5.4 x 7.6 x 26.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection, X1179.3. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, X1179.3_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, X1179.3_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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