The export of cats from Egypt was so strictly prohibited that a branch of the government was formed solely to deal with this issue, in addition killing a cat was punishable by death. It is recorded that when a feline passed on, the family would go into grieving as though for a human relative, and would frequently shave their eyebrows to illustrate their misfortune.
Nevertheless, the Egyptians' love for cats would eventually be the source of their demise. In the Battle of Pelusium (525 BC) Cambyses II of Persia conquered Egypt, defeating the forces of Pharaoh Psametik III. Cambyses had his soldiers round up cats and drive them before the Egyptian forces. The Persian soldiers then held cats in their arms, and decorated their shields with images of cats as they marched behind the wall of felines. Reluctant to defend themselves for fear of harming the cats, the Egyptians surrendered the city and let Egypt fall to the Persians.
An inscription in the Valley of the Kings states, "You are the Great Cat, the avenger of the gods, and the judge of words, and the president of the sovereign chiefs and the governor of the holy Circle; you are indeed the Great Cat."
You can find a wide variety of wonderful feline antiques throughout Grays. Here is a selection of our favourite pieces:
|Broach, Egyptian style cat 1930s from Linda Bee|
|Vintage three head cat ring from Gillian Horsup vintage jewelery|
|Mother holding two kittens, Bronze, 1895-1910. From Mariad Antiques|
|1980's sterling silver cat earnings from Tings jewelery box |
|Porcelain cat from Gillian Horsup vintage jewelery|
|Cat taking photo with camera and Cat playing squash, Bronze, 1895-1910. From Mariad Antiques|
|1930s straw filled toy cat, from Linda Bee|