Canopic jar lid, Duamutef - 939x71.1.B_3


Canopic jar lid, Duamutef

Geography: Egypt
Date: c. 664-332 BC
Period: 26th-30th Dynasty, Late Period
15.2 x 10 cm
Object number: 939X71.1.B
Not on view

      In traditional mummification, the internal organs (lungs, stomach, liver, intestines) are removed from the body, dried, treated separately, wrapped, and either returned to the body or placed in jars beside the coffin. The oldest examples of canopic jars have plain, flat lids, but by the Middle Kingdom, images of the face of the deceased were often sculpted onto the lids, and by the end of the New Kingdom, and for the rest of pharaonic culture, the heads on the lids were usually those of four minor deities, the Sons of Horus. Usually Duamutef, with his canine head, protected the stomach, though the distribution of organs into jars was not always precise.

            This Duamutef is a handsome fellow, though many who have seen him are of the opinion that his large ears make him look more like a bat than a jackal or other canine. His eyes are human, and his damaged right ear gives him a raffish and cheerful air. He looks upward with an eager and friendly grin.

            By the time this Duamutef was carved, many mummies had their organs returned to the body cavity. An empty set of canopic jars were then supplied to the burial. There is no way to know if this particular Son of Horus ever actually guarded a body part, or merely formed part of a well-furnished grave.

            If you see an error or have additional information, please contact us by clicking here.