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Description: Dwarf depicted in sitting position, holding vessel under left arm. Hollow unglazed pottery. Marked Lwrnc (Lawrence) 1898 P2129
Period: Graeco-Roman Period 300 B.C. - 100 A.D.
Size: 48mm high
Reference: Found at Zagazig, Egypt, probably at an archaeological excavation.


Zagazig, the modern name for the ancient city of Bubastis on the Nile Delta which was the site of a great sanctuary of Bast which flourished from the 9th century BC. In Histories (Bk II), the Greek historian Herodotus described the annual festival of the goddess, whom he equated with the Greek goddess Artemis; this was an occasion for drunken and licentious revelry which he estimated attracted over 700,000 people. Excavations have uncovered large cat cemeteries in the vicinity, containing many mummified cats and cat figurines, perhaps dedicated to Bast during the festival. Images of the cat goddess sometimes show her as a cat-headed woman in a clinging dress, and her sacred animal, for which the Egyptians seem to have had a particular fondness, is shown serenely seated, sometimes nursing or accompanied by kittens; such images include some of the most charmingly naturalistic works of ancient Egyptian sculpture.

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