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Canopic Jars and Egyptian Mummification

Ancient Egyptians used canopic jars mostly during the mummification period to contain and protect their owners’ viscera for the hereafter. They were usually either crafted from granite or produced from pottery. The jars were essential in both the Old Kingdom and the Late Ptolemaic era when the viscera were packed and filled with meat. There was a total of four pots, each pot held different body organs ranging from intestines, stomach, liver, and lungs.

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The organs were preserved based on the belief that they were useful in the afterlife (Senti et al. 267). The viscera or intestines were stored in separate jars and each container had a separate designated internal organ. The term canopic illustrates an incorrect integration between the Greed legends and early Egyptians. In particular, the term inferred the boat captain to Troy but was assassinated at Canopus. He was later mummified, and his organs were placed in pots for worshipping (Canopic Jars). The heart was regarded as the spirit’s seat; hence, no special pot was set for it.

Ancient Egyptians used canopy jars mostly during the mummification period to contain and protect their holder’s viscera for the hereafter. They were typically either crafted from limestone or produced from pottery. The early Egyptians utilized the jars from the Old Kingdom era until the Ptolemaic Period when the viscera were merely bundled and inserted with the flesh (Canopic jars). The viscera had not been stored in a single canopic container: each jar was allocated for particular organs. Early canopy barrels were loaded within the canopy chest and stored in the graves with the deceased cavern. Afterward, they were often grouped in rows under the beer or at the four sides of the room. Typically, there were carvings on the exterior of the pots after the initial stages, often very long and complicated.

The canopy jars of the Medieval Era were seldom engraved and had a simple cover. In the Middle Kingdom, the inscriptions were popular, and the zippers were created to mimic the shape of human faces. In the reign, each of Horus’ four sons had a special lid for designation and as protection for the body parts. The jars were four, each for protecting different human organs: assumed, would be expected in the underworld. There was no vessel for the heart as it was considered the center of the spirit and was left within the body (Galassi et al. 75). It is apparent that the configuration or evolution of the canopic containers has changed over time with the recent generations eliminating the practice. The latest jars in history date back to the 11th and 12th dynasties, the New Empire, and they were structured using wood and stone (Canopic jars).

In the earliest kingdoms, the containers had simplistic covers, and human faces emerged in the First Achaemenid era. In most cases, the caps were labeled with the face of Anubis, who was celebrated as the deity of death and decay. In Eighteenth Dynasty, the jars were taken to Horus’ sons. Several collections of jars withstand aragonite, alabaster, calcareous marble, and glazed porcelain from this time on. Early canopic bottles were put within the canopy chest and preserved in the graves with the coffin. Later, they were often grouped in rows under the beer or at the four sides of the room. Typically, manuscripts on the jars’ exterior after the early periods were often long and complicated.

Annotated Bibliography

“Canopic Jars,” Digital Egypt. Web.

In this article, the authors explore the concept of Canopic Jars, particularly their origin and purpose in the ancient Egyptian community. The article is important to the current topic as it directly addresses the topic of research. Thus, I will use the article in the introduction section to offer a background to canopic jars.

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Galassi, Francesco M. et al. “The Canopic Jar Project: Interdisciplinary Analysis of Ancient Mummified Viscera.” CIPEG Journal: Ancient Egyptian & Sudanese Collections and Museums, vol. 1, 2017, pp. 75-79.

In this article, the authors explore an interdisciplinary analysis of the canopic jars. Importantly, the journal explores a literature analysis and how different authors view the concept of canopic jars in relation to the development of ancient Egypt. The article will be essential in expanding analysis on the use of canopic jars and their conceptualization.

Senti, Sidney, et al. “Egyptian Canopic Jars at the Crossroad of Medicine and Archaeology: Overview of 100 Years of Research and Future Scientific Expectations.” Pathobiology, vol. 85, no. 5, 2018, pp. 267-275.

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