The rise and fall of the genet: the relationship between the cat and the genet in Ancient Egypt
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 23:24 authored by Emily Corbin
The common genet (Genetta genetta) and the African Wild Cat (Felis silvestris lybica) are two morphologically similar animals that were depicted by the ancient Egyptians in two-dimensional painting and relief on tomb walls during the pharaonic period (c.3150BC - 30BC). While the latter animal has received much scholarly attention from Egyptologists, research on the genet in ancient Egypt has been limited to small articles and encyclopaedic entries in larger bodies of work. From the supposed advent of cat domestication in Egypt onwards, cat iconography increased dramatically. This exponential growth in the popularity of cats appears to have resulted in them replacing genets in marsh scenes during the New Kingdom period. This heralds a significant change to the Egyptians' traditional artistic repertoire. This study seeks to examine this event through the application of an anthrozoological and an art historical perspective in order to unpack how the social construction of animals in society influences their reception. The primary aim is to achieve a more extensive understanding of this phenomenon and to explore its impact on ancient Egyptian society.