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Canopic jar of Horudja

 

Sloane Collection

EA 37937

Enlightenment: Religion

    Canopic jar of Horudja

    Egypt, 25th or 26th Dynasty (747-525 BC)

    The jars used to contain the removed organs from a mummy were named 'canopic' jars by early modern Egyptologists. This misleading name came from the fact that images of Osiris worshipped at Abukir (close to Alexandria) took the form of a human-headed vessel. The Greeks named the city Canopus, apparently identifying the local god with the fictional Canopus, the captain of the fleet of ships of Menelaus, king of Sparta who was buried in Egypt on the return voyage from Troy.

    This canopic jar was part of the collection of Sir Hans Sloane. Sloane collected few Egyptian antiquities, due to the difficulties of traveling to Egypt at this period. The jar was illustrated in J and A. Rymsdyk's Museum Britannicum (1778), where it was described as 'Vas Aegyptium, A canopus, with Osiris'-Head, or that of a Hawk… The Hieroglyphiks are painted black, on this beautifully formed Vase, and the Substance is White Alabaster'. The lid has since been lost.

    A. MacGregor (ed.), Sir Hans Sloane, collector, sc (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)

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    On display: Enlightenment: Religion

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