2,000-Year-Old Sarcophagus Adorned With Leopard Painting Found

On the western bank of the Nile, 15 feet below ground, an archeological dig (led by Patrizia Piacentini from the University of Milan) has unearthed a stunning 2,000-year-old sarcophagus lid adorned with a colored painting of a leopard’s face. “Her name is Mafdet (meaning ‘she who runs’) and she was the first of the Egyptian cat goddesses, long before the more modish Bastet and Sekhmet,” Hakim Bishara writes for Hyperallergic. The leopard was often used as a symbol of protection, and this one was painted near to the mummy’s head—presumably to keep them safe in the afterlife. While the discovery was made last year, it’s only now that the team of Egyptologists has released a digital reconstruction of the image that they’re now working to restore. According to Piacentini, the piece “could go back to its original splendor.” Read more at Hyperallergic.