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ES677

A Canopic Lid for Qebehsenuef, Late Period ca 664-332BC

in the form of the falcon-headed god Qebehsenuef, one of the four sons of Horus, the eyes defined in original black pigment. 

Qebehsenuef protected the intestines and was guardian of the West. 

Central to the religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians was the desire to preserve the body for all eternity.To this end, during the process of mummification, the major internal organs of the body, including the lungs, liver, stomach, and intestines were removed.  But because these organs were considered as important as the rest of the remains of the deceased, they were not discarded, but embalmed separately and stored in canopic jars.Canopic jars are among the most intriguing of Egyptian art works.  They functioned and were treated as miniature mummies. They were made of various materials such as travertine, limestone, alabaster, and clay. Early canopic jars, from the Old Kingdom, were simple stone or pottery vessels with flat or domed lids. During the middle kingdom, they were shaped in the form of human heads, usually portraits of the deceased, counterparts to the portraits on the coffins in which the bodies were placed.  By the time of the New Kingdom, canopic jar decoration changed again.  Now Jar lids took on their classic shapes. They were given the heads of the four sons of Horus. The sons of Horus protected the internal organs.  Hapi, the baboon, protected the lungs. Duamutfla, the dog/jackal, protected the stomach. Imseti, with a human face, guarded the Liver, and Qubehsenuef, represented as a falcon, presided over the intestines.

Condition:  Some minor wear and pitting otherwise intact and in very condition overall

Dimensions:  Height: 8 cm (3 1/8 in)

Provenance: Museum deaccession in 1979, thereafter in a private Texas collection.

 

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