About Me

My photo
Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

cats used to grow big in greece, did they?

Some years ago a Greek vase that the University Museum had lent to Bryn Mawr
College aroused my curiosity about cheetahs in antiquity, starting me on a long
trail of Classical cats

Such is the opening sentence of Ann Ashmead's article "GREEK CATS: Exotic pets kept by rich youths in fifth century B.C. Athens, as portrayed on Greek vases" (Expedition Magazine Vol 2, No. 3, Spring 1978). Long story short, I may have brought you a bit of a project today if you feel like downloading the PDF and scanning the scholarly article. The text mostly says in essence "Rich fashionable young Greek men could acquire a cheetah or a leopard if they wanted to, apparently." If you have ever wished you could have a mighty cool Acinonyx jubatus -- that's cheetah to you and me -- then you might well enjoy, not least for the great photos taken from ceramics of the time. (I recommend Illustration 8, a kylix by the Cat and Dog Painter, and 6, a cheetah whose spots are made in loopy whorls.)

Give the article a try.


parlance said...

Do you know the story of the lion cub who was on display in Harrods in London in the seventies and the two young men who bought it?

They released it in Africa when it grew, and years later returned. I think it was called Christian.

I guess you might have already seen the moving footage of their reunion.

curator said...

I HAVE, indeed, Parlance, and it made me mist up. That was a beautiful story.