Originating from ancient Egypt during the Late Period (664-332 BC), this artifact illustrates the elevated status of cats in that era. The piece in question is a meticulously constructed wooden cat sarcophagus, intended to provide a burial chamber for a mummified cat.

Measuring approximately 1.0 meter in length, 0.25 meters in width, and 0.3 meters in height, the sarcophagus demonstrates skilled craftsmanship. Significant sections of the original paint and gesso endure, amplifying the complexity of the hieroglyphics and mythological representations.

Featured at the midpoint of the coffin is a painting of a cat, using profound hues of black, white, and gold to reference the intramural entity. Cats, symbolizing the goddess Bastet, held high esteem in ancient Egypt due to their association with home, fertility, childbirth, royal protection, and lunar deity. The sculpture of a protective amulet, presumably the Eye of Horus, affiliates this sacred bond.

The extensive variety of polychrome decorations potentially conveys prayers for the afterlife, illustrating a complex belief system. The presence of celestial motifs and hieroglyphs further support this hypothesis. The hieroglyphs may contain vital information about the buried cat's life and origins.

The sarcophagus is assumed to house a linen-wrapped mummified cat, indicating it as a token or substitute of Bastet. This aspect highlights the significance of cats and animal mummification in ancient Egyptian religious practices.

Egyptian Museum in Cairo
Valley of the Kings