Ancient Egypt

by Mandy Barrow

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Canopic Jars


It was very important to ancient Egyptian religious beliefs that the human body was preserved.

A method of artificial preservation, called mummification was developed by the ancient Egyptians. During the process of mummification, all of the major organs were removed and placed in canopic jars.

What are canopic jars?

Jars used by ancient Egyptians to hold mummified remains. During the mummification process the organs of the human body were removed and preserved separately in canopic jars.

What did the Egyptians put inside the jars?

The persons liver, intestines (guts), lungs and stomach were placed in canopic jas. Each organ was placed in a special jar with a top representing an animal or human head.

Why did the Egyptians not remove the heart?

The heart was left inside the body because the Egyptians believed that in the afterlife it would be weighed to see whether the person had led a good life.

Why did each jar have a special top?

The Canopic Jars were decorated with the heads of the four sons of Horus.

Each canopic jar guarded a different organ.

1. Imsety had a human head, protected the liver.

2. Qebehsenuf had the head of a falcon and guarded the intestines.

3. Hapy had a baboon head protected the lungs.

4. Duamatef had the head of a jackal, and guarded the stomach.

The four canopic jars were put into a special chest which went into the tomb with the mummy.

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