Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gayer Anderson Cat heads to the Shetlands

The Guardian, UK (Maev Kennedy)

One of the best-loved objects in the vast British Museum collection, a small bronze cat with its tail sedately wrapped around its feet and wearing golden rings in its ears and nose, is off on a journey its creator could never have dreamed of in Egypt 2,500 years ago – to Lerwick in Shetland.

The cat is one of a series of spectacular artefacts that the museum is sending out on loan to regional museums.

The lucky recipients, many pummelled by local authority and other funding cuts, will not have to pay a penny towards their distinguished visitors. The British museum is funding the loans through £100,000 from the Art Fund museum prize, which it won last year for the phenomenally successful Radio 4 series and exhibition A History of the World in 100 Objects.

The museum's director, Neil MacGregor, said there were good geographical reasons for some of the loans: the 13,000-year-old carved ivory tusk of a swimming reindeer is going to Creswell Crags in Derbyshire, where ice age inhabitants were making art in the same period, and the Mildenhall Great Dish is going to Ipswich, near the site where it was excavated. But others had no justification other than sending something wonderful where it had never before been seen.

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