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What's Inside a Canopic Jar?

When the organs were removed from the body of the deceased during the mummification process, the stomach, liver, lungs, and intestines were singled out for special treatment.  Each of these organs was purified, dehydrated, and wrapped separately and placed inside a canopic jar.  The ancient Egyptians believed the four Sons of Horus (on the lids of the jars) would look after the organs:  Imseti (man), guardian of the liver; Dwumutef (jackal), guardian of the stomach; Hapi (baboon), guardian of the lungs; Qebehsenuef (falcon), guardian of the intestines.  


Of the three canopic jars belonging to Aahmose, son of Amun-ir-di of Faiyum, Egypt, only one jar contains remains.  The jar with jackal-head (Dwumutef) lid, contains what should be the stomach of the deceased.  Click on the pictures to see a close-up view of the contents of this jar.  The remains of linen strips and charcoal-colored viscera are visible in the jar.  The organ is shriveled and black; the dehydration would have significantly shrunk the organ and the tree resin used to preserve it (as well as the passing of hundreds of years) caused it to turn black.  The transparent globules that look like glue are the remnants of the resin.


Click on the images for a closer view.




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