Tuesday 25 October 2022

Bastet at the British Museum for National Black Cat Day

Today is National Black Cat Day, so here's a statue of the cat goddess Bastet currently on display at the Hieroglyphs exhibition at the British Museum. Bastet, or Bast, is an example of shared beliefs by both Ancient Egyptians and  Greeks living in Egyptian cities. The information panel reads:
"Greeks and other foreigners lived in Naukratis long before the arrival of Alexander the Great. Temples dedicated to Egyptian gods operated next to Greek sanctuaries, and foreign residents supported the local cult of the cat-goddess Bastet, known as Bubastis in Greek."
Statues like the one in the photo were often left as offerings in her temple. Although this statue is white, she is also often seen as a black cat - and you can find some brilliant black Bast statue replicas and toys in the British Museum gift shop. Ideal for a bit of Halloween shopping in my opinion.

National Black Cat Day was set up by charity Cats Protection to help celebrate the majesty of beautiful black cats. The campaign was launched because black and black-and-white cats take, on average, seven days longer to find a home compared to cats of other colours. As a witch with a cheeky black-and-white called Tommy, who loves to help me when I'm casting spells, I can vouch for the fact that cats of all colours are great companions.

Hieroglyphs: Unlocking Ancient Egypt is in the Sainsbury Gallery at the British Museum, London, until 19 February 2023. You can find out more here: britishmuseum.org/hieroglyphs

There's a book coming out early next year called The Magic of Cats, by Andrew Anderson, which I was lucky enough to read as a manuscript before it went to be published. I can recommend it as a great overview of the folklore and magic of our feline companions. You can view The Magic of Cats on Amazon and at Moon Books' website.

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