A show at the Brooklyn Museum explores the role of cats, big and little, feral and tame, celestial and not, in ancient Egypt.
If your dream of heaven is eternity spent with the pets you love, “Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt” at the Brooklyn Museum is your exhibition. All of its 30 objects, sifted from the museum’s Egyptian collection, are of cats, big and little, feral and tame, celestial and not. Whether cast in bronze or carved in stone, their forms were to outlast time, and so they have.
Although it’s often assumed that the domestication of cats began in Egypt, archaeology suggests that Mesopotamia was the place. And despite the feline presence in religious contexts, Egyptians didn’t worship cats per se, but created gods that had their physical features, their expressive moods and their near-supernatural intelligence.