A Glance At Ancient Clothes Of North Africa

By Gamal Rasheed


Bastet was among the most important deities in the Egyptian pantheon. It was depicted with the head of a cat and because of this physical depiction cats were also highly revered amongst the people of the time. Over the years it was depicted in a variety of different ways with varying clothes, attire and costume.

At first, this goddess was portrayed as a dreadful lioness. But later on, 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.

Bubastis, a temple of Bastet was constructed by the Egyptians. There were scores of idols within the temple showing this cat-headed goddess. An in depth observation of these idols has helped historians to find out the way the god was usually attired.

An idol with a cat's head over the body of a young lady is the label of the deity. Most of these idols show her as a cat-headed goddess, except some idols, wherein a leopard or a lion is shown.

This god was always made to wear highly ornate clothing. She had a wide variety 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 that was known as Sistrum in her other hand.

The middle of her clothing consisted of a breastplate. A mythological belief mentioned that she had a liking for dancing and music; she was also wealthy and generous. The tiny basket worn on her arm was supposed to portray a plentiful harvest.

As an indication of respect, many cats were allowed to live in the temple dedicated to her. A huge number of mummified bodies of cats have been unearthed by archaeologists in the Bubastis temple. Cats which lived in domesticity in Egypt were buried in this temple.

A bronze sculpture clothed in the regular style was supposed to be empowered to bring luck, and so a lot of Egyptians took possession of them. Many people offered these bronze sculptures within the temple. Hence, many of them reaching to thousands have been discovered by archaeologists in the temple.

Cats attained a special place amongst the Egyptians because of Bastet. There were special laws in place that protected cats. Any person who would intentionally harm a cat was to be punished and similarly they had elaborate burial rituals for when a domesticated cat died in a family.




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