Gayer-Anderson cat

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The Gayer-Anderson Cat
Gayer-Anderson Cat 01-black.jpg
Year Late Period
Type Bronze
Location British Museum, London

The Gayer-Anderson Cat is an Ancient Egyptian statue of a cat made out of bronze, from the Late Period, about 664-332 BC.

Style and detail[edit]

Detail of the head

The sculpture is now known as the Gayer-Anderson cat after Major Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson who, together with Mary Stout Shaw, donated it to the British Museum.[1] The statue is a representation of the cat-goddess Bastet. The cat wears jewellery and a protective wedjat amulet. The earrings and nose ring on the statue may not have always belonged to the cat.[2] A winged scarab appears on the chest and head, it is 42cm high and 13cm wide. A copy of the statue is kept in the Gayer-Anderson Museum, located in Cairo.


The statue is not as well preserved as it appears. X-Rays taken of the sculpture reveal that there are cracks that extend almost completely around the centre of the cats body and only an internal system of strengthening prevents the cat's head from falling off. The repairs to the cat are thought to have been carried out by Major Gayer-Anderson who was a keen restorer of antiquities in the 1930s. He is thought to have rediscovered the surface of the cat after the presumed corrosion had been removed.[3]

The cat was manufactured by the lost wax method where a wax model is covered with clay or clay and water until there is sufficient thickness. The clay can then be fired in a kiln and the wax flows out. The now hollow mould can be refilled with bronze. In this case the metal was 85% copper, 13% tin, 2% arsenic with a 0.2% trace of lead. The remains of the pins that held the wax core can still be seen using x-rays. The original metalworkers would have been able to create a range of colours on a bronze casting and the stripes on the tail are due to metal of a differing composition. It is also considered likely that the eyes contained stone or glass decorations.[3]


  1. ^ Description of the Gayer-Anderson Cat, British Museum
  2. ^ Oakes, Lorna, and Lucia Gahlin. Ancient Egypt: An Illustrated Reference to the Myths, Religions, Pyramids and Temples of the Land of the Pharaohs. (p. 229) Barnes & Noble, September 2003. ISBN 978-0-7607-4943-2.
  3. ^ a b Examination of the Gayer-Anderson cat, British Museum, accessed December 2010

Further reading[edit]

  • Clutton-Brock, J. The British Museum book of Cat. London: The British Museum Press, 2000.
  • Warner, Nicholas. Guide to the Gayer-Anderson Museum, Cairo. Cairo: Press of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, 2003.

External links[edit]