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Canopic jars

The four canopic jars contained the entrails of the human body, removed in the process of mummification to prevent the body from decomposing during the weeks between death and burial. Canopic jars of the Old Kingdom (about 2686-2181 BC) are almost never inscribed, and have a plain lid. In the Middle Kingdom (about 2025-1700 BC) canopic jars are often inscribed, and the lids are often human headed. In the Nineteenth Dynasty and later each of the four lids takes the form of a different head - falcon, human, jackal and baboon (denoting the four children of Horus).

Middle Kingdom
New Kingdom (about 1550-1069 BC )
the overseer of the sealers Wahka
the commandant of the ruler's crew Beb
the high steward Nebnenu
the great king's wife Nebetnehat
king's daugther Tia...
UC 16125
UC 16027
UC 6411
UC 16052
UC 15808
UC 15809

New Kingdom
Third Intermediate Period
the chantress of Amun Mut-nofret
unknown provenance, unknown owner
the chantress of Amun Iset
found in the Ramesseum
UC 15810
UC 30098
UC 30116
UC 14235
UC 14238

Late Period
UC 29794
UC 29795
UC 29796
UC 29795
UC 29798
Dummy canopic jars: these are canopic jars that were not hollowed out, so never used for the entrails. Common in the Third Intermediate and Late Period, when improved techniques allowed the embalmer to leave the entrails in the body.


UC 16422
UC 16421
UC 16421


Raisman/Martin 1984 (catalogue of the canopic jars in the Petrie Museum)


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