What Was The Canopic Jar Used For?


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In the ancient Egyptian rituals of mummification canopic jars were used to store the internal organs of the deceased. Typically only the soft organs were removed before the body was mummified as these organs contain liquid and decompose easily thus damaging the body which were meant to be preserved. As with the body the ancient Egyptians believed that the soul will require the internal organs as well in the next life.

Made out of a combination of alabaster, limestone and calcite the jars were placed in a chest and it was believed that the four sons of Horus would guard them.

Each son was the guardian of one organ each:

Imsety the God with the human head was the guardian of the liver.

Hapy the God with the baboon head was the guardian of the lungs.

Duamutef the God with the head of a jackal was the guardian of the stomach.

Qebehsenuef the God with the head of a falcon was the guardian of the intestines.

Much later more advanced forms and techniques of mummification involved mummifying the internal organs separately and then placing them back into the body's cavity. However the practice of placing the canopic jars which were dummies continued.

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