The inscription on this ancient Egyptian stela, or painted limestone, says that this offering was made by
Wennefer, son of Paiwenhor, and dedicated to Osiris. It’s now on display at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.
(Photo by Hayley Pontia)
In ancient Egypt, cats were sacred animals. People dedicated mummified cats at the sanctuary of the cat goddess Bastet as offerings. The sanctuary was located in the city of Bubastis where the remains of numerous cat mummies and small cat sculptures have been found.
Cats were also pets, just like they are today, and were sometimes mummified and placed in tombs with their owners. The belief was that by placing cats and their owners in the same tomb the pair could remain together in the Afterlife.
The image on this coffin canopy in Walton Hall of Ancient Egypt represents the ba, which was the spirit-like quality Egyptians believed all people possessed.
The ba is most often depicted as a human-headed bird. A person’s ba was considered important in the afterlife, where it could visit the world of the living during the day and return to the world of the deceased at night.