МОСКОВСКИЙ МУЗЕЙ КОШКИ (RUS)


MOSCOW CAT MUSEUM (ENG)

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WOMAN & CAT: THE MYSTERY OF MILLENNIUM

"Women were regarded as
witches and were burned only
because they were beautiful."
Simona de Bovuar

"O'key. I will chase the mice
for ever and ever, but I am still
Cat and go wherever I want and
walk by myself."
Redyard Kipling

There were a lot of different mysteries and riddles throughout human history. Some of them are bound together with the invisible thread, which is hidden either in heaven, or… Woman appeared on the Earth, looked around and almost at once chose Cat as a companion. So that strange and expressive alliance (Woman & Cat) arose.
What is the essence of this mutual attraction and, what sustains this mysterious union? The main point, as I think, includes beauty and sensuality. The nature itself caused Woman's aspiration to be beautiful and attractive in the eyes of men, to look better than rivals, to be in favour of the whole world, - that is the aspiration to the beauty as to an abstract ideal. While the man's mind is occupied with the pure practical concerns and plans, his mentality is logic, rational and rather trivial, his actions are intentional; woman, even the busiest one, unconsciously strives for beauty and perfection. That is why women and men could hardly understand each other from the very start; not only because of the different interests of life; but, besides that, because of the different emotional and energetic tunes, different abilities to feel and sense.
May be, these distinctions are, at the same time, the factors of mutual attraction though they don't prevent them from rivalry, quarrel and simple misunderstanding of one another. So the vague and mysterious silhouette of Cat arises on the dim horizon. That Cat, which according to Kipling walks by Herself. Cats are the companions of Woman and at the same time - indifferent observers of everything, that happens in the peoples world.
There are a lot of different versions, concerning the cats' appearance on our planet, but as it is in case of people's appearance, - it is very difficult to get to the truth. There is a cosmic version among them, which is particularly interesting for me.

Poetry "C-dream"

I often see this dream…
…Surrealistic cats
are looking out of weird unearthly brushwoods.
Their almost human faces
and
unusually expressive eyes speak about something,
that I can't understand.
Feeling of a near solution is delightful and poignant,
but mental efforts does not pass without a trace. I wake up
with a feeling of sudden loss and disillusionment.
Surrealistic cats…
Who are they and what are they for?
Are they Messengers and Agents of an extraterrestrial
civilization, who were taken to the Earth
and
for some reasons left here for ever?
I often see this dream…

But anyway the cats did not appear among people occasionally. And it is not by chance that they are similar to women.
Gracefulness and elegance, intelligence and resourcefulness, dexterity and quick reflexes, wonderful plasticity and beauty, independence and indifference - all these qualities, inherent in cat, made it the really ally of women, her true friend, able to understand everything.
It is considered that the Cat has lived together with human being for millennium, though it is not clear, when it came into the human dwelling. Beautiful and graceful Cat became the object for the artist since the very ancient time. In Turkey, not far from the village Hutsilar, there were found the statuettes, which were created in the 6th century B.C. Their theme is - woman playing with cats…

Apparently it was Woman, who invited Cat into the house; and Woman had been forced to do it by… mice (according to Kipling's affirmation), - mice, which Woman have been afraid of. The chasing of mice was always the game or sport, but not only the source of food for cats. Besides that, it is possible to suppose the important role of the special aesthetics of Cat, which was emotionally close to Woman. As I think, that was why the Cat got some privileges in the human home. Dog's place is outside the house, cow's place - in the enclosure, horse's place - in the stall… Only the cat can make itself comfortable on the knees of the Mistress near the fire. Cat have always got a good food and caress not because of something concrete, made by it, but because of it's existence itself. Woman enjoyed Cat and fought for it's interests against man, who considered Cat as useless animal.
Cat has been treated differently at different times in various countries. Egyptians idolized these charming beasts and considered them as the incarnations of some gods. The God of Sun, Ra, had the image of cat and was called "Great Cat". In ancient Egypt cats were the sacred animals of goodness Bast, the personification of joy, pleasure and cheerfulness. That goodness was worshiped in the Temple of Sun in Heliopolis. Bast was portrayed as a woman with the cat's head. The premeditated killing of cat caused death as a persecution. If the cat died naturally, people mourned for it and shaved eyebrows as a sigh of mourning. Cats was transformed into mummies and buried with great honor. Cat's idolizing in ancient Egypt was akin to the attitude to women's beauty, that attitude, which had the nature of cult.
Later Woman and Cat walked through the life together, but that mysterious union was often persecuted. In medieval Europe the close connection between Woman and Cat did not remain unnoticed by inquisition and got the only interpretation - the relations with devil. So the church declared the crusade against Cat. Witches and cats were blamed for supernatural and demonic power, participation in Dark Sabbaths. Cats shared the fate of miserable women, young and old, who were blamed for the witchcraft. Women and cats were burned, beaten with stones, hanged. Especially unlucky were black cats. By the way, they are not held in high esteem even now.
Fortunately, everything changes in this world, and the persecution of cats and women was left in the past. But many superstitions and omens, concerning cats, remain. And there is no smoke without a fire. Cats and some women are close to the mystic energies, which can be called differently, but which undoubtedly exist. Try to look into the cat's eyes, look intently and keep your glance fixed. Do you see? The eye gradually becomes large and deep, transforms into the infinite space, drawing and attracting. I have always thought, that it is possible to come close to cat, jump into it's eye and fall, whirling, down through this abyss. Such an amazing effect! How this is similar to the slough-eyes of some women…
It seems that Women and Cats are tuned at the same energetic wave. These creatures - and the cats especially - have got the intuition, this so called 6th feeling. The woman, being in touch with cat for a long time, gets the new character and sensitivity. The cat gradually spreads it's influence to woman and put her into emotional and energetically dependence.
It is very interesting to look at the relations between Woman and Cat through the eyes of the artist. There is an opinion that the art is akin to litmus paper for testing and revealing something, hidden from the people's eyes. Many artists have tried to reveal the essence of Cat. Vittor Pisanello and Bosch, Durer and Paul Devos, Watteau and Jean-Batist Oudry, T. Gericault and O. Daumier, Leonardo da Vinchi and Rubens, D.Velasquez and P. Bruegel de Ouder, E. Manet and Renoir, Picasso and Chagall, M. Beckmann and P. Klee… This list can be continued. Some painters, such as "cat-Raffaello" G. Mind, L. Wain and G. Ronner, devoted their whole attention to the phenomenon of the Cat, others turn to this theme only occasionally. But how vary the cats of different artists, how many images and characters! And near the Cat is the Woman. Leonardo da Vinchi created the picture "Madonna with the Cat" and made a lot of sketches from the life of cats. Renoir emphasized the female element in cats, portrayed them near the girls with the romantic aura. The Frenchman Eroir devoted a lone of art-works to the girls of easy morals. The artist portrayed such girls near the cats, because he considered cats as a very sensual animal. Green made the engraving "Witch's Sabbath" with the cat, reading a book, and dancing aitches.
The contemporary artists also try to reveal the mystery of this mystic union. Look at the collection, gathered by the INTERGALLERY for the exhibition programs "Cat's Eye", "Women & Cats" and the collection of the Moscow Cat Museum. The cats are massive, calm and kind at the canvases made by Irina Rakova. The woman might feel herself comfortable near them. Maria Rud's cat is the only friend, home, the salvation from loneliness in cruel and hostile city. The picture "Witch", made by Maria Rud is galvanized with the idea, that witch and cat have one common nature, which is called female sensuality and sexuality. Dyakonitsin's Woman and Cat are looking through the window into the mysterious night world of dream, where everything is so similar and at the same time unlike the world of reality. Vasilenko's ciramic shows the Cat together with a little girl, it's owner; while the "Self-portrait", made by N. Balzhak, reveals the equal union of two natures. At the canvas, made by Irina Maryina, Cat and Woman are dreaming, - each of them has her own dream.
So the question remains, why did the Woman give her heart to the Cat millennium ago, and why this attitude is still alive? I think, the answer is simple. Women see the unattainable ideal in cats. For woman the cat is the personified dream about beauty, independence and liberty. Woman has often to against her own interests, to make a compromises, and that causes dissatisfaction with herself. And the cats are the only radical remedy against the women's loneliness, the reliable remedy, tested by ages. That's why I would recommend it to every woman - either to independent enough to know, that there are no unquestionable truths in the world; or to romantic one, who can choose for herself such a charming, fascinating, nice friend. To choose the Cat.

Andrei ABRAMOV

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