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Cat Coffin

A work made of wood and plaster.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of wood and plaster.


Late Period-Ptolemaic Period (664–32 BCE)



About this artwork

Ancient Egyptians dedicated animal coffins like this wooden example in temples, tailoring the enclosed mummified animal to one that had a specific connection with the deity whose favor was sought. The mummified animal’s soul acted as a messenger between the human and divine realms, seeking resolution to issues such as illness or crimes committed against its dedicator. The feline form of this empty coffin suggests that it was presented to Bastet, a goddess revered for her motherly qualities who often assumed the form of a cat or cat-headed woman.


On View, Gallery 137


Arts of Africa


Ancient Egyptian


Cat Coffin


Egypt (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

664 BCE–32 BCE


Wood and plaster


63.5 × 22.3 × 52 cm (25 × 8 3/4 × 20 7/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Emily Crane Chadbourne

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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