LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Bronze, inlaid gold, sculpture of the Goddess Bastet, Egypt, 21st - 26th Dynasty (1081-525 BC) Bastet is a feline goddess of ancient Egyptian religion who was worshipped at least since the Second Dynasty. Originally she was viewed as the protector goddess of Lower Egypt. As protector, she was seen as defender of the pharaoh. She was the daughter of Ra and agent of his vengeance, gaining her the titles Lady of Flame and Eye of Ra. In the first millennium BC, when domesticated cats were popularly kept as pets, Bastet began to be represented as a woman with the head of a cat and ultimately emerged as the Egyptian cat goddess.
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