The Freud Museum

Falcon-headed canopic jar stopper

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3106, Falcon-headed canopic jar stopper, Egyptian Late Period; 664 BC - 332 BC

Artist: Photographer: Ardon Bar Hama
Culture: Egyptian
Material: Stone
Dimensions: 11.1 x 10.5 x 8.0 cm

Black stone canopic jar stopper in the form of a falcon's head (representing Qebesenuef) wearing a flared striated wig and collar placed on a rectangular wooden base. 

Canopic jars were used to house four bodily organs after death. It was thought that the deceased would require them again in the afterlife and so during mummification the liver (protected by the human-headed Imsety), lungs (protected by the ape-headed Hapy), stomach (protected by the jackel-headed Duamutef), and intestines (protected by the falcon-headed Qebehsenuef) were removed and placed in their respective jars ready to be used again in the afterlife. The heart was left inside the body as the ancient Egyptians believed that humans thought with the heart (as it was seen as the seat of emotion and memory) and this was needed for the 'Weighing of the Heart' ceremony in order to be granted successful passage into the afterlife. The brain was in fact broken down and discarded during the mummification process. From around the Third Intermediate Period (c. 1070- 712 BC) these organs were returned to the body after being treated with natron; however, empty canopic jars were sometimes placed with the deceased as the for protectors were still believed in.

See this object on our Collections site here 

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