Issue 4, 2018


S. V. Ivanov

'Netipichnye' terrakoty iz Memfisa II. Figurka koshki ['Unusual' terracottas from Memphis II. A figurine of a cat]



This paper is focused on a fragment of a figurine of a cat (№ 03-04/0045) that was found in the central part of Kom Tuman in 2003 in course of work of the Russian archaeological mission to Memphis. This object was modeled by hand and covered with red slip. Despite loses (missing head, weathering of surface) the subject of the figurine is clear: it represents a cat sitting on a lotus blossom (?). This find can be dated to the end of the Late — beginning of the Ptolemaic period.
Unfortunately this figurine was found in a layer of mixed soil, therefore its original context is not quite clear. Judging by a break in the lower part of the figurine, it formed a part of a larger object — a figured vessel or altar; at the moment we have failed to find a close parallel to it. The representation of the cat itself is also rather unusual as it repeats the pattern of bronze statuary (sitting cat), while most of terracotta images represent felines in other postures.
Due to the material and typical technique, it is highly probable that this figurine was made in a local Memphite workshop. Throughout Egyptian history Memphis was home for representatives of different peoples and cultures. These groups tried to integrate into Egyptian society, and they reproduced many elements of Egyptian culture. However superficial resemblance did not always correspond to the essence of a phenomenon. Therefore we can suggest that our figurine was probably produced as a result of such action.

Keywords:
Memphis, Kom Tuman, Late Period, Ptolemaic period, multiculturalism, multi-ethnic society, terracotta, pottery, altar, cat.

Original language — Russian.

Read full article