The Cat’s Tomb

Category
2013, History, Royal Ontario Museum, Temporary Exhibit
Tags
Ancient Egypt, bilingual, burial, cat, pet, sarcophagus
About This Project

Date: Opening June 1, 2013

Partner: Royal Ontario Museum

Venue: Ancient Egypt Gallery – map

Project Members: Amyn Adatia

 

The Cat’s Tomb is a recreation of an ancient Egyptian cat’s tomb featuring a 2500-year-old mummified cat and artefactual provisions for its afterlife. The display serves to inform visitors about burials of prized pet cats belonging to owners of elite status during ancient Egypt’s later dynasties as well as the important roles which cats played in ancient Egyptian society. The exhibition is intended for visitors and cat/pet lovers of all ages, ranging from elementary school children to the elderly. This exhibition is also targeted towards attendees of the Royal Ontario Museum’s Ancient Egypt Weekend 2013.

 

The exhibition is located in the Royal Ontario Museum’s Ancient Egypt Gallery.

 

Planning for The Cat’s Tomb began in October of 2012 and extended for a period of eight months.

 

  • Concept &Proposal Phase: October to December 2012
  • Research Phase: December 2012 to February 2013
  • Design Phase: February 2013 to April 2013
  • Implementation Phase: May 2013
  • Installation: May 22, 2013

 

The Cat’s Tomb features a mummified cat with an exposed head from Egypt’s Late Period (664-332 BC) along with artefactual provisions for its afterlife. These provisions include:

  • a drinking bowl from Ptolemaic Period (332-30 BC)
  • 2 necklaces from New Kingdom (1150-1069 BC)
  • a portrait plaque from 18th Dynasty of New Kingdom (1479 – 1425 BC)
  • a blue faience bust of a cat figurine from New Kingdom (1150-1069 BC)
  • an amulet of Bastet from Late Period (664-332 BC)

 

Additionally, the following modern replicas were used:

  • 3 mummified mice made from rubber mice toys and tea stained strips of linen

 

The black backdrop features a high-resolution image of the 18th Dynasty sarcophagus of Prince Thutmose’s cat, Ta-Miaut, a pair of cat eyes, and text in both English and French. The backdrop was designed with the purpose of engaging visitors by means of dramatic visual context. Labels were printed separately on a translucent tape material, which was adhered onto the front facade of the display case’s insert.

 

A four-part marketing campaign was implemented for The Cat’s Tomb. Entries with enticing photos were posted on the ROM’s official and kid’s blogs. Furthermore, two posts were uploaded onto the ROM’s Facebook page. The exhibition was also featured in an article in Toronto Standard newspaper. Finally, as curator of the exhibition, I hosted a special “Exhibit Talk” for one hour during Ancient Egypt Weekend 2013 to inform visitors about the display and to answer their questions.

 

Initially, the exhibit was supposed to remain on display for 2 weeks. However, due to popular demand, it has been extended to the end of August. In addition, The Cat’s Tomb was filmed for TVO’s, “Museum Diaries” television show. It will be part of an episode highlighting the ROM’s ancient Egyptian mummy collection. The exhibit was also featured in the May 30, 2013, Toronto Standard article, “New ROM Exhibit to Showcase Purrfectly Preserved Cat Mummy” (http://torontostandard.com/article/new-rom-exhibit-to-showcase-purrfectly-preserved-cat-mummy). Furthermore, the display has received overwhelming support through Facebook. Finally, the one hour “Exhibit Talk” was attended by 70 visitors.

 

I would like to thank all of the professionals at the ROM and UofT for their time and expertise in making The Cat’s Tomb possible.