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Weekly Gallery Chat – “Canopic Jars From Egypt”

” A Pale Green Mermaid Blog “


Canopic jars were containers that held the remains of a person who was buried in the tombs of Egypt.  The jars themselves are considered pieces of sculpture the caps in particular represented  the deseased or later deities most popular at the time.

King Tut’s burial chamber held a wonderfully carved example made with alabaster which is a translucent stone.


Here is how the jars were found,


here is a closer detail,

Alabaster Canopic figure from the Tomb of Tutankhamun


you can see how the light shines through the stone giving the piece a life-like quality.


Hoping you a snow-less night.. I am sick of shoveling!!! 

Images above from google

Tutankhamun's Gold Inner Coffin
Tutankhamun’s Gold Inner Coffin   Image from www.touregypt.net



Canopic jars were used by the Ancient Egyptians during the mummification process to store and preserve the viscera of their own for the afterlife. They were commonly either carved from [lime] stone or were made of pottery.[1] These jars were used by Ancient Egyptians from the time of the Old Kingdom up until the time of the Late Period or the Ptolemaic Period, by which time the viscera were simply wrapped and placed with the body.[2] All the viscera were not kept in a single canopic jar, but rather each organ was placed in a jar of its own. The name ‘canopic’ reflects the mistaken association by early Egyptologists with the Greek legend of Canopus.[3][4]

The jars were four in number, each charged with the safekeeping of particular human organs: the stomach, intestines, lungs, and liver. The design of these changed over time. In the Old Kingdom the jars had plain lids, though by the First Intermediate Period jars with human heads (assumed to represent the dead) began to appear.[5]

This practice continued up until the time of the New Kingdom, though by the late Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt the human heads were replaced by heads associated with the four sons of Horus,[6] who were also the gods of the cardinal compass points.[7] Each god was responsible for protecting a particular organ, and wnet were themselves protected by companion goddesses from harm.


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