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A Large Egyptian Canopic Jar, 18th Dynasty, ca 1550-1295 BC - Sands of Time Ancient Art
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A Large Egyptian Canopic Jar, 18th Dynasty, ca 1550-1295 BC

The jar itself displays the classic canopic form, full and round at the shoulder of the vessel, then tapering down towards the base.  The stopper is conical in shape and modeled in the form of  the jackal-headed god Duamutef, one of the four sons of Horus.  Duamutef protected the stomach and was guardian of the East; relaying hope from the dead to the living with the promise of eternal life.

Canopic jars were stone or ceramic vessels used for the burial of the wrapped viscera removed from the body of the deceased during mummification. Each canopic jar held a particular organ of the body and was under the special protection of one of the four Sons of Horus deities. Each of the four gods had a characteristic head and was associated with a particular canopic vessel and its contents as well as being protected by one of the four "protective" goddesses. They were also allied with one of the four cardinal points of the compass. From the 18th Dynasty (c. 1550-1295 BC) the stoppers of canopic jars were fashioned in the form of the heads of each of the four gods:  Hapi, the baboon, protected the lungs and was associated with the goddess Nephthys. Duamutef, the jackal, protected the stomach and was associated with Neith. Imsety, with a human face, guarded the Liver and was associated with Isis, and Qubehsenuef, represented as a falcon, presided over the intestines and was associated with Selkis.

For a similar example in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, see pp. 190-191, cat. no. 137, in D'Auria, et al., "Mummies and Magic, The Funerary Arts of Ancient Egypt."

Condition:   The base is intact with good surface, where preserved, with losses relating to erosion or soluble salt efflorescence. The lid is worn, with minor chips to the base edge and losses to the extremities, in particular the ears and the side of the nose.  Overall it is in good condition.

Dimensions: Overall height:     Base height:   Lid Height:

Provenance:  Private Australian collection, acquired in the early 1970's and then in a private Detroit collection since 2003.  

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