144 pages, 90 colour & 21 b/w photos and illustrations
Many modern cats are descendants of the cats of ancient Egypt. These beautiful creatures thus represent a living link between the modern world and the ancient Egyptian civilization. Cats in Egypt were probably domesticated by around 4000 BC, from wild ancestors. Over the following centuries, they became popular household pets; they are regularly shown in tomb paintings of family life. They were also seen as manifestations of the goddess Bastet, and Dr Malek draws on a vast range of artistic and written sources to show how they became one of the most widely-esteemed and revered animals in Egypt. In the Late Period, enormous numbers of mummified cats were buried with honours, and bronze statuettes of cats were dedicated to temples during religious festivals. Dr Malek ends by describing how cats fared in Egypt in the post-pharaonic period. Cats remain popular in Egypt today; the contract between cats and humans, entered into in Egyptian villages thousands of years ago, is still very much in action.
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