Cats in Art and Literature
Egyptian tomb paintings and sculpture are the earliest representations of the domestic cat. Images of cats appear on Greek coins of the 5th century BC; cats were later depicted in Roman mosaics and paintings and on earthenware, coins, and shields. The 8th-century Irish manuscript of the Gospels, the Book of Kells, has a representation of cats and kittens in one of its illuminations. Later artists, such as the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci and his German contemporary Albrecht Dürer, are among the many who included cats in their works.
Although the Old Testament makes no mention of cats, the Babylonian Talmud tells of their admirable qualities and encourages the breeding of cats "to help keep the houses clean." Memorable literary cats include the British writer Rudyard Kipling's "Cat That Walked by Himself" (one of the Just So Stories, 1902), the delightful cats of Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939) by the Anglo-American poet T. S. Eliot, and the Cheshire Cat, joint creation of the English writer Lewis Carroll and the illustrator Sir John Tenniel in the children's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Many contemporary comic strips and animated cartoons also contain feline characters which delight ailurophiles (lovers of cats) of all ages.
"Cat," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2003
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