What Are Egyptian Canopic Jars?


Quick Answer

Egyptian canopic jars were used to store the internal organs of a mummy. Each of the four jars in a set held a different organ: the stomach, the lungs, the liver and the intestines.

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Full Answer

Canopic jars were somewhat vase shaped, mimicking the shape of a mummified body. Each jar had a lid representing the head of one of the four sons of the god Horus. Hapy, with a baboon head, protected the lungs. Duamutef, a jackal-headed god, protected the stomach. Kebehsenut had the head of a falcon and protected the intestines. Imseti, who had the head of a human, protected the liver. The heart remained inside the mummy, and the brain was discarded.

Canopic jars were made of a variety of materials, from ceramic to carved alabaster. In later times, they often were ornately inscribed with spells and religious texts.

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