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 Museum Explorer

Death in Ancient Egypt

Canopic jars

Height: 36.500 cm (min.)
Height: 36.500 cm (min.)

EA 59197-59200

Canopic jars

From: Deir el-Bahari, Upper Egypt
Date: 21st Dynasty, 1069-945 BC

As part of the mummification process, four main organs would be taken out of the body and placed in special containers called canopic jars. Each jar had the head of a different god, known as the four ‘sons of Horus’. These jars contained the organs of a woman called Neskhons. Have a look at the picture and see if you can spot:

Qebhsenuef, with the head of a falcon, who looked after the intestines
Duamutef, with the head of a jackal, who looked after the stomach
Hapy, with the head of a baboon, who looked after the lungs
Imsety, with a human head, who looked after the liver.

You may have noticed that the brain is not included in the list. The Egyptians thought that this was worthless, so they would usually pull it out through the nose and throw it away.