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Jackal-headed canopic jar, Egypt, 2000 BCE-100 CE

During the process of mummification in ancient Egypt, the intestines, stomach, lungs and liver were removed from the body. Each organ was placed in one of four carved limestone canopic jars, each with a different shaped head. These represented four Egyptian gods – the Sons of Horus who each looked after a different body part. Jackal-headed lids, such as this one, represent Duamutef, who was the guardian of the stomach. The falcon-headed Qebhsnuf looked after the intestines, the human-headed Imsety was guardian of the liver and the baboon-headed Hapi looked after the lungs. The jar was excavated during 1850-1894 at the Egyptian temple of Coptos.

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Glossary: mummification

No description.

Glossary: stomach

J-shaped organ, lying to the left and slightly below the diaphragm in human beings; one of the organs of the digestive system. The stomach produces gastric juices that break down proteins.

Glossary: canopic jar

Stone or ceramic jars in which the ancient Egyptians preserved the internal organs of a deceased person as part of their burial practices.