Sunday, November 27, 2011

Introductory Facts About Ancient North African Deity Clothes

By Gamal Rasheed

The pantheon of the Egyptians consisted of several deities, but Bastet was given the chief position. She was portrayed to have a cat-head, due to which Egyptians placed cats in a place of reverence. As decades passed by, her clothing underwent a constant change so that its portrayal also kept changing.

Initially, this goddess was portrayed as a dreadful lioness. But afterwards, as cats became likable animals and people began taming them, her portrayal changed to a woman having a cat-head, instead of the dreaded lioness.

The people built a temple known as Bubastis in reverence of Bastet. Within this temple were hundreds of statues which were meant to represent the cat headed goddess. It is by analyzing these statues that historians have been capable of getting an idea of the type of clothing that the deity was considered to wear.

The majority of the statues depict her as a cat headed woman although there are some exceptions in which she is depicted as a leopard and in some older statues as a lion. The trademark statue had the head of a cat upon a body of a youthful woman.

This god was always made to wear highly ornate clothing. She had a multitude of fashion accessories that complimented her ornate attire. These included a small bag which she would be made to carry. In other statues she is shown as carrying a small basket delicately worn over one of her arms. She would also have a musical instrument which was known as Sistrum in her other hand.

Also part of her attire was a breastplate that formed the center of her attire. Based on Egyptian mythology this deity had a love for music and dance. She was also thought to be having a generous nature while being very rich as well. Actually the basket that the statue of Bastet was wearing was meant to represent the bountiful harvest that the goddess was associated with.

As a sign of respect, many cats were allowed to live in the temple dedicated to her. Thousands of mummified bodies of cats have been unearthed by archaeologists in the Bubastis temple. Cats that lived in domesticity in Egypt were buried in this temple.

Egyptians kept a bronze idol attired in the usual manner to represent luck. Such bronze idols were also placed as offerings inside the temple premises. Consequently, archaeological discovery has uncovered thousands and thousands of such idols from the temple.

As Bastet is held in high position as a deity, cats were also highly revered by Egyptians. Laws to particularly ensure the safety of cats had been put to practice. Persons indulging in harmful activities with an intention to hurt cats were liable to be punished definitely. Besides, Egyptian people performed customary rituals during the burial ceremony of a tamed cat.

About the Author:

No comments: