The pantheon of the Egyptians contained numerous deities, but Bastet was given the chief position. She was portrayed to have a cat-head, due to which Egyptians placed cats in a place of reverence. As decades passed by, her clothing underwent a constant change so that its portrayal also kept changing.
Initially, 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, rather than 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 manner in which 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, with the exception of some idols, wherein a leopard or a lion is shown.
This god was always made to wear highly ornate clothing. She had a multitude 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 little 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 center of her clothing contained a breastplate. A mythological belief revealed 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.
The reverence related to cats caused many living cats to adorn the temple dedicated to this goddess. Lots of cat-bodies that have undergone mummification formed a major part of the archaeological discoveries in the temple of Bubastis. Tamed cats of Egyptian households were buried in Bubastis.
A bronze sculpture clothed in the typical 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.
The identity of Bastet as a deity rendered a distinctive position for cats amidst the Egyptians. Certain laws were enforced to safeguard cats. If anyone happened to purposely impose danger to a cat, punishment was compulsory. Likewise, the Egyptians practiced detailed funeral rites to bury a cat that lived in domesticity.