Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Dead Cat brooch

Despite spending about 2 hours trolling around the absolutely rain-sodden Bicester Village fashion outlet in Oxfordshire this weekend, Her Indoors came home empty handed - save for this little brooch.

We had spent a couple of hours in the Ashmolean Museum, and saw some fabulous stuff as usual, but the Egyptian Section was closed for a refurb. On the way out through the gift shop, H.I. spotted it and when she caught up with me later, told me about it but couldn't decide whether or not she should get it, so we went back for a second look and I got it for her because I thought it was really funny and such a mad but charming idea.

It is not a copy of any existing piece of jewelry, but it is based on those insane, ancient Egyptian, mummified cats that you can see in the British Museum, where the dead cat has been bound up in linen to form a stick-shape where the body and tail are, with a stylised head sticking out of the top which has a shocked and undignified expression on it, as if the animal cannot understand how it got into this situation in the first place. They have tried to simulate the wonderful, yellow gold of ancient Egypt in the base-metal, and haven't done too bad a job.

H.I. has been sporting it since monday. It will probably serve as a good ice-breaker at parties, when strangers ask what the hell it is supposed to be.


  1. Love it, and what a great post title, you had me imagining allsorts :)

  2. I once read that in the mid-1800's, some English chemical Co imported tons of these mummified cats, that were then ground up and turned into fertiliser. I believe that there were so many in Egypt that even grinding up several hundred thousand of them left no shortage!

    Nice brooch!

  3. They also burnt human mummies to make the black pigment, 'mummia' - very unstable and tended to go brown in a few years.

  4. didn't you do some of the stone work at Karnak?

  5. I hear Egypt is closed for a refurb too at the moment.

    Pretty brooch...I have a few (brooches), not very many people wear them any more...shame.

  6. I think it's charming. And it does have a "who are these people? and how the hell did I get here?" expression.

  7. No, Grouch, but I did get touched up by an old Sheik when I was there as a young man.

    True, J!

    Yes, it looks helpless - like any bound cat would look - dead or alive.

  8. I love cats! This is the best...I would have bought it too.

  9. I think it is most interesting Tom. I can see why HI was drawn to it.

  10. Lovely!, I was a little scared to come over for a visit because I thought,"DEAD CAT"!But my curosity(killed the cat), got the best of me and I'm so glad I came, I'm visiting from RAZMATAZ Photo challenge.
    This is one beautiful dead cat, WOW!, just incredible.

  11. I have finally stumbled over here and am so jealous of the "dead cat" that I have turned green. Love all the Egyptian mummifying stuff and as the owner of cats, and no I'm not going to mummify mine, this appeals to me!

    Lucky H.I., I say! Ann