2020 . Mar . 08

Pharaohs Organs Facts & Four Canopic Jars Ancient Egypt (Definition, Meaning & Names)

The ancient Egyptians were so concerned about their afterlife and how to be ready for the other world, and this is so obvious in what they had left, mainly tombs and some temples, most of them are funerals. No wonder in Egypt, you can find maybe the most massive tomb in the world in shape, like the Great Pyramid, and a valley full of tombs of great kings in Luxor such as the Valley of The Kings, without forgetting Sakkara complex, the oldest necropolis ever known.


They also created a unique technique to save the body in good condition by mummification, using some jars to keep the organs in, called the Canopic Jars. So let’s explore what Canopic Jars means and some facts, names, what it used for, what was written on it, and which jar held which organ.



canopic jars

Canopic Jars Of Ancient Egypt Definition

When an Egyptian Pharaoh died, his body must be mummified to be well conserved. The inner organs: lungs, liver, kidney intestine were removed and stored in Canopic Jars, except the heart, because they believed that it must remain in the body as it will be the witness for or against the dead in the other world.


What Were Canopic Jars Used For?

Egyptian pharaohs always believed in an afterlife and body preservation which is called mummification was essential in order to come back again to life. And the canopic jars were one of the processes that were used for that purpose. The Egyptian canopic jars were used to preserve these organs safe, which is necessary to be reborn in the afterlife. These ritual canopic jars started in the old kingdom, as the first one found was from the 4th dynasty, which belongs to Queen Meresankh III.


How Were Canopic Jars Made?

A set of four jars carved from limestone or pottery with flat lids. Till the middle kingdom, where some changes happened to the design, no more flat caps. Instead, human heads were covering the jars. By the Nineteenth dynasty, four creature heads had replaced the human's heads, representing four Horus' sons.


Sons Of Horus, What Did They Put In The Canopic Jars?

Each single Canopic Jar was covered by one of four Horus gods heads (Hapy, Imsety, Duamutef, and Qebhsenef), protecting a specific part of the viscera after being embalmed separately, anointed, and wrapped in linen.


Which Canopic Jar Held Which Organ?

  • Hapi, the baboon-headed god, guards the lungs.
  • Duamutef, the jackal-headed god, guards the stomach.
  • Imsety, the human-headed god, guards the liver.
  • Qebehsenuef, the falcon-headed god, guards the intestines.

What Is Written On Canopic Jars?

The formula inscribed on the belly of each canopic jar also associated a son of Horus and a goddess. It quoted the protective words spoken by the goddess on behalf of the Son of Horus with whom the deceased was assimilated.


Where Were Canopic Jars Found?

Ancient Egypt Canopic Jars were placed inside a chest called the Canopic Chest and buried with the sarcophagus in early times. It had been separated and arranged in a row or at the four corners of the burial chamber.


King Tut’s Canopic Jars Egypt, A Piece Of Art

King Tut Canopic Jars are the most popular, as they were found in excellent condition as well as the whole treasure, made from alabaster, exposed in the Egyptian Museum Cairo, as a part of the King Tutankhamun treasure. These Mummy jars were a part of the mummification and embalming process in ancient Egypt, which had been developed over different periods and dynasties. It's a piece of art itself with all the gods' heads statues, each one taking care of his specified organ.


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