Sunday, October 25, 2009

Canopic Jars of Ancient Eygpt

These elegant jars can have an unsettling effect on some people because of what they were used for. Canopic Jars are used to hold the stomach, liver, lungs, and the intestines of embalmed person. Each internal part was protected by a different goddess while each jar was topped with a god's head that represented a cardinal direction. The god Hapi (the baboon), who represents the north, is accompanied by the goddess Nephthys in protecting the lungs. The South is represented by the god Imseti (human-headed) whose companion is the goddess Isis and they protect the liver. The god Duamutef (the Jackal), represents the east, is accompanied by the goddess Neith in the responsiblity of protecting the stomach. Last but not least is the god Qebehsenuef (falcon), represents the west, and his companion the goddess Selket that protect the intestines.
A weathered set of Canopic Jars.

Each jar lid is intricately carved and sometimes painted or trimmed in gold. Most are adorned with hieroglyphics. Canopic jars were normally made of calcite(also known as Egyptian Alabaster), limestone, or clay. However, calcite is the most prized material used. Canopic jars or vases are another example of the rule "form follows function". Canopic jars are normally stored in Canopic Chest that are just as artistically carved and inscribed.

King Tut's canopic jar set in its canopic chest.


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