Egyptian 18th Dynasty painting of the divine cat Mau



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A wood panel fragment with a painted gesso surface on one side. The fragment is decorated with a figure of a spotted cat reaching upwards while seated on its hind legs in front of vivid red and green branches and leaves.

This painting depicts the divine cat Mau, probably holding a knife and about to slay Apep.
Mau protected the Tree of Life, which held the secrets of eternal life and divine knowledge, from the evil serpent Apep. The story of Mau and the tree is told in Spell 17 of the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Egypt, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, c. 1550-1292 BC

26.2 x 15 cms

Fragment as shown

Ex. collection: Torquil Stewart, Eaton Cottage, Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK. Probably inherited from his father the artist Alistair Ninian Stewart (1908-1979) and acquired mid 20th Century.