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Canopic Jar with the Head of Imsety (work of art)

Artwork Info

Created
circa 1550–1186 B.C.E.
Artist
Unknown Egyptian Artist (New Kingdom, Dynasty XVIII–XIX)
Dimensions
Jar height:
12 1/2 inches x diameter 7 3/8 inches (31.8 x 18.7 centimeters)
Lid height:
4 1/2 inches x diameter 3 1/4 inches (11.4 x 8.3 centimeters)
Medium
Sculpture, Stone

Credit

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Fred Olsen

Culture
Ancient Egyptian

Key Ideas about this Work of Art

  • This canopic jar is carved from stone and consists of two pieces: the lid in the form of a human head and the jar with hieroglyphic carvings.
  • Canopic jars were created in groups of four, to represent the four sons of Horus. Each jar would have held a specific internal organ. The organs were mummified separately, after they were removed from the body of the deceased, which was also mummified. The jar protected each organ for the journey into the afterlife, where all of the organs would be reunited with the dead person.
  • The jar with the human-head lid represented the protector deity Imsety (pronounced im-set-ee). It would have contained the liver of the deceased.
  • The hieroglyphs tell us that this canopic jar belonged to Qeny, the overseer of the pharaoh’s double granaries. A granary is a room or building used for storing threshed grain or animal feed.

Learn More

Canopic jars contained the viscera, or soft internal organs, of the deceased and were placed inside the tomb. Each jar contained a specific organ. The jar with the human-head lid represented the protector deity Imsety and contained the liver. This canopic jar belonged to Qeny, the overseer of the pharaoh’s double granaries.

tags: hieroglyphics, Ancient Egypt, function, survival, ritual, interdependence, cycle

Additional Resources

Resources for Teachers

  • See the four different types of canopic jars.
  • Learn about the origin of hieroglyphs.

 

Resources for Students

Images

  • A stone jar with hieroglyphic carvings and a lid with a human face.

    Canopic Jar with the Head of Imsety by