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Canopic jars, 21st-26th dynasties

Canopic jars, vessels for containing the mummified internal organs of the body, go back to the Old Kingdom. Four jars are traditionally found, and the normal practice up to the end of the New Kingdom was to provide them with human heads. After that point,they tend to take the mixture of animal and human heads associated with the deities who protect the organs. However, for most of the Third Intermediate Period, the mummified organs were placed back inside the mummy and no containers were normally found, although in some cases solid dummy ones were used. However, by the end of that period, the practice of using jars for the organs came back into favour.

A number of fragments of jars were found in the tomb from the later reuse. They were mostly rather damaged, and no names could be discerned. Examples were found of limestone, alabaster and other stones.

baboon lid
baboon lid

Lid of a baboon-headed alabaster canopic jar, reassembled from fragments. In addition to the markings on the surface in paint, large streaks of resin are visible over the head, as well on the underneath of the stopper.

© Nigel Strudwick 1997-2014