The theme of our Keep-Our-Sanity challenge this week is Cat.
Cats have long been part of human life, with signs of domestication dating back to around 12,000 years ago. They originated in the near east, so it is little wonder they show up in the art of Egypt and other cultures in the area. Judging by the number of carefully mummified cats (300,000 found in one cemetery!) they appear to be have been well loved members of ancient Egyptian households.
Dating from 664 B.C. – 395 A.D., Egyptians mummified their house cats, such as this one courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Note that this is a model or reproduction of a cat mummy, as there are no bones inside. The ancient Egyptian reverence for cats is well-known–and well-documented in the archaeological record: scientists founds a cat cemetery in Beni-Hassan brimming with 300,000 cat mummies. ~ From: A Brief History of Cats, Smithsonian Magazine.
Egyptians cats were associated with the goddess Bastet, and thus revered and immortalized in many forms of art, like this one acquired by Henry Walters. The pendant on this cat’s necklace displays a standing goddess with the double-crown nursing the young Harpokrates. ~ From: A Brief History of Cats, Smithsonian Magazine.
Small amulets made of faience, like this one (dating back to 664-525 B.C.E.), or alternatively made of stone, ceramic, metal, or glass were common personal possessions in ancient Egypt. There were most frequently fashioned in the form of gods and goddesses or of animals sacred to them and worn as protection. ~ From: A Brief History of Cats, Smithsonian Magazine.
Possibly from the Ptolemaic Dynasty, this papyrus column with two cats dating back to 305-30 B.C.E. is made of faience. It is a good demonstration of how much Egyptians adored their house cats that statues like this one were made in their likeness. ~ From: A Brief History of Cats, Smithsonian Magazine.
Our Team’s Interpretations
Jenny Davies-Reazor: This tile doesn’t have a title yet… My favorite things? These are the first tiles pressed from my newest original design. Dog, cat, books, coffee/tea= bliss. I have to shout out to Dianas cats who graciously posed via FB pix. I look forward to endless glazing options on future versions. Chair fabrics as Impressed texture? Sgraffito? Carved designs?
Karen Totten: digital painting of cat. The nice thing about digital art is that you can create the subject content on a transparent background, then composite it on any backdrop, or print it onto nice rag or handmade paper… as seen in the next two images.
Karen Totten: Cat on a handmade rice paper on which I digitally airbrushed a blue/green tint.
Karen Totten: Cat on a handmade rice paper on which I digitally airbrushed a red/orange tint.
Susan Kennedy: Ever since I visited Japan over 10 years ago, I have been fascinated with their culture, in particular the juxtaposition of old world tradition vs. kawaii (cute). I saw businessmen with Hello Kitty cell phone charms and it intrigued me! So, I puchased this 2-drop peyote stitch pattern to make this cuff – unfortunately, I didn’t purchase enough pink beads, so I have to wait to finish it until my Fusion Beads order gets here!
Diana Ptaszynski: Porcelain kitties with black underglaze and grey glaze!
Finally, what post about Cats would be complete without a Cat Video? This one is different, and pretty darn wonderful, about how a guy turned his house into an indoor cat playhouse.
Karen has worked professionally as an artist and designer for over 30 years in a variety of creative disciplines: architectural design, illustration, art direction, mixed media art, interaction design. She currently works full time as a User Experience (UX) Design Principal for an international consultancy. When not flying to work every week, her other passions are ceramic art, sketching, and occasionally, jewelry design. “For me, the creative life, from UX to fine art, has always been one of exploration and adventure. As the daughter of an air force navigator, I grew up a traveler. To this day I am intrigued by stories and motifs that transcend time, culture, and geography.“