Thursday, 16 January 2014

CATS in Egypt/KEMET




THE IMPORTANCE OF CATS IN ANCIENT EGYPT

In ancient Egypt cats were called Mau, Miu or Mii, meaning "one who meows."

Cats were treated as gods, and were protected by law. They were revered as a manifestation of the goddess Bastet. The punishment for harming or killing a cat was harsh;

"Whoever kills a cat in Egypt is condemned to death, whether he committed this crime deliberately or not"

There were also laws forbidding the exportation of cats. However, Phoenician traders often smuggled them out and sold them to the Mediterranean countries. Cats were so important that pharaohs sent their Armies to recapture cats from foreign lands!

The importance of cats is epitomized in the abundance of decorated statuettes found in the excavated tombs. Statuettes were seen as religious symbols with great history and importance by the Egyptians. These statues were often adorned with golden jewelry and earrings. They are shown standing with their tails wrapped around their bodies to the right. Cats were mummified after death, and mice, rats, and saucers of milk were placed in their tombs. Cat cemeteries line the Nile River and cat mummies can be found in the tombs of Egyptians. The most important cat tomb cities besides Bubastis were Giza, Abydos, and Dendereh.

The process of feline mummification had 6 steps:

1- Remove internal organs.
2- Stuff body with sand or other packing material.
3- Placed in sitting position.
4- Wrapped tightly.
5- Faces painted on wrappings with black ink.
6- Natural dehydration (No chemicals used)

When a cat died, the occupants of the house (where the cat died from natural causes), would go into a deep mourning and shave their eyebrows.


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