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Lot 0002A
Egypt, Late Third Intermediate period, 25th Dynasty, ca. 646 to 525 BCE. A bronze cast figure of the feline goddess Bastet laying on a four post dais; each post of which was cast as a silhouette of the dwarf god Bes. An intriguing example, replete with layers of symbolic meaning as delineated below. Mounted on a wood pedestal. Size: 1.875" W x 2.25" H (4.8 cm x 5.7 cm); 4" H (10.2 cm) on stand

In ancient Egypt, the cat was associated with the Egyptian goddess Bastet, whose cult was centered on Bubastis on the Nile River Delta. Bastet gained recognition and importance when its rulers rose to power and formed the 22nd dynasty, a period also known as the Libyan Dynasty. Worshippers paid tribute to Bastet with ex-voto figures such as this example.

Bastet was initially a lioness goddess associated with the solar god and channeled its destructive power. However, by the early first millennium BCE, she assumed a more domestic feline form and became understood as a goddess of fertility and a guardian of the home. Ever since, statuettes comprised of various materials have characterized her as a doting mother cat. Her cult expanded decisively when her town in Bubastis (derived from per Bastet or "house of Bastet"), became the royal residence of the kings of the 22nd Dynasty, during the 10th century BCE. The city hosted an annual festival honoring Bastet in celebration of the Nile flood waters, and she was honored throughout Egypt through the first millennium BCE.

The dwarf god Bes was understood as a protector of households, mothers, children, and childbirth. The repetition of his image would have been thought to give the piece more power than just a single image.

Provenance: Ex-Private New York Collection; Ex-Long Island New York Collection.

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Heavily oxidized patina. Repairs and losses as shown. Feet of dais sit on stand, not attached.

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Egyptian Bronze Reclining Bastet on Bes Dais

Estimate $1,000 - $1,500Mar 15, 2017