A hieroglyph from Deir el-Bahari depicting leashed cheetahs (“panthers”)

A hieroglyph from Deir el-Bahari depicting leashed cheetahs ("panthers")

A hieroglyph from Deir el-Bahari (Luxor) depicting leashed cheetahs (“panthers”).

The cheetah shows little aggression toward human beings and can be easily tamed, as it has been since antiquity. Reliefs in the Deir el-Bahari temple complex in Luxor tell of an expedition by Egyptians to the Land of Punt during the reign of the pharaoh Hatshepsut (1507–1458 BC) that fetched, among other things, animals called “panthers” for Egypt. Two types of “panthers” were depicted in these sculptures: leashed cheetahs, referred to as “panthers of the north”, and sturdy leopards, referred to as “panthers of the south”.

During the New Kingdom (16th to 11th centuries BC), cheetahs were common pet animals for the royalty, who adorned the animals with ornate collars and leashes. The Egyptians would use their dogs to bring the concealed prey out in the open, after which a cheetah would be set upon it to kill it.

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