Mummy Of Cat, Wrapped Linen

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From card: "Head, linen covered; breccia adheres to left side. Wrappings partially rotted."
The mummified cat has a cylindrical body and modeled cat head. The body is elaborately wrapped in thin light brown linen strips arranged in a coffered crisscross diamond pattern. Losses to the diamond pattern reveal an open weave linen fabric below it. There appear to be several alternating layers of open weave fabric and thin linen strips with a tighter weave. The linen fabric has a darkened color that spirals from the head to the base and ranges from 3-7 cm wide. Consultation with Dr. Salima Ikram, an animal mummy expert, confirmed that the darkened coloration of the linen is likely an intentional decoration. There are isolated spots and lines of black resin on the body that are particularly visible near the neck and on the bottom. The head of the cat is covered in a linen fabric that conforms to the surface and may be adhered with an adhesive. There is a clay material unevenly present on top of the linen on the cat's head. Light colored rock- particles are embedded in the clay material throughout but particularly on the proper left side of the cat head. A fragment of a thicker, more open weave linen is present on the top of the cat's head. Some areas of the face appear painted with a black pigment. Radiographs taken by Dr. David Hunt (NMNH physical anthropologist) show a cat skull present inside the cat head and the bones of a cat body extending approximately halfway down the cylindrical linen wrapped body. The cavity in the center of the cylindrical wrapped body appears to extend the entire length. AMS Radiocarbon dating of this object was performed by Beta Analytic in 2015 for a project by Melinda Zeder, David R. Hunt, and Salima Ikram. The results of the radiocarbon dating found that the object was 2230 +/- 30 BP, or Cal BC 385 to 200 (Cal BP 2335 to 2150), placing the object in the Ptolemaic dynasty.
Cat mummy was on display in exhibit "Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt" at the Freer/Sackler Galleries in Washington, DC, from October 14, 2017 to January 15, 2018.
Record Last Modified
12 Jan 2020
Specimen Count
Donor Name
Mrs. Mab B. Nilon
Accession Date
13 May 1940
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Accession Number
USNM Number
Ancient Egyptian
Egypt, Africa
Height - Object
49 cm
NMNH - Anthropology Dept.
Object Type
Animal Mummy