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This seller who offers Egyptian tourist souvenirs makes it very clear that that is what they are.

Such as: (with permission from the seller)



Back to Canopic jars.

These from various sellers in the antiquities section on eBay; most of the IDs have the word Egytpain in them.

These are all sold as genuine.

They are of course all tourist souvenirs.


Old Kingdom canopic jars


Canopic jars were covered funerary vessels in which were  stored the organs of the mummified deceased. Jars were made from various materials, including alabaster, limestone, pottery, wood, and bronze. The viscera were not kept in a single canopic jar, but rather each organ in its own.


The brain was not preserved (it was held to be only responsible for producing mucus), but instead was liquefied and completely drained from the corpse through the nose. (This is something much better to be had done after one's demise, than before) The heart was not removed . The Egyptians considered the heart to be the seat of the soul, so it was the only organ not removed from the body


Like so many terms related to ancien Egypt he term derives from a misunderstanding. The ancient classical writers believed that the Greek hero, Kanopos, helmsman for Menelaeus, was worshipped at Canopus in the form of a jar. The very early Egyptologist\explorers saw a connection between that object and the actually unrelated visceral jars discovered in tombs, and began calling them "canopic". Obviously, the name stuck and eventually was used to describe all kinds of receptacles intended to hold viscera removed during the mummification process. 


The very earliest canopic equipment consisted of simple chests, or even a specially built cavity in the wall of the tomb, where wrapped visceral bundles were placed. We find the first possible canopic installations at Saqqara in tombs of the 2nd dynasty ,but proven canopic burials date from the 4th dynasty reign of Senfru. Tombs dating from this period at Meidum near the Fayoum Oasis have niches that, in size and position, correspond to later canopic usage. In the case of Hetepheres, Snefru's wife, an actual chest was discovered carved from calcite, and divided into four square compartments, each of which contained a biological mass that almost certainly was part of her internal organs. However, the first indication of a king's canopic equipment was discovered in the paving blocks to the southeast of the sarcophagus of Khafre, at the Second pyramid of Giza


Typically, the earliest canopic niches in burial chambers may have held wooden boxes, but by the end of the 4th Dynasty, organs were sometimes placed inside simple stone or pottery jars, with flat or domed lids. The earliest examples of canopic jars come from the 4th dynasty tomb of Queen Meresankh III in the reign of Menkaure.


The canopic chests which held the jars were cut from soft stone, or carved from the actual wall or floor of the tomb. However, from the 6th dynasty, granite examples have been discovered in royal tombs which were sunk into pits in the floor at the southeast foot of the sarcophagus. Fragments of just such a chest, together with its contents, were discovered in the tomb of Pepi I. The visceral remains had been soaked in resin and when solidified, took the shape of a jar. 


Canopic jars of the Old Kingdom (2686-2181 BC) were simple stone or pottery jars, with flat or domed lids are almost never inscribed.



During the First Intermediate Period the lid of canopic jars started to take on the form of a human head instead of a flat or domed shape. Also, the wrapped bundles of viscera placed in the jars were now sometimes adorned with cartonnage masks with human faces. And while previously, inscriptions on canopic equipment had been limited to the name and title of the deceased, wooden canopic chests now followed the design of contemporary coffins, with strings of text that run around the upper part of the chest, with some examples of more extensive text. Design elements linking the coffin or sarcophagus with the canopic chest continued until near the end of the New Kingdom

In the Middle Kingdom (about 2025-1700 BC) canopic jars are often inscribed, and the lids are mostly  human headed. On the inner wooden chest, text would be inscribed invoking the protection of the four tutelary goddesses, Isis, Nephthys, Neith and Selket. This text would call on these goddess to wrap their protective arms around their paired genius, and would proclaim the honor of the deceased. The individual jars would also be adorned with similar text. A typical example from a jar containing the liver found in the 13th Dynasty tomb of king Hor stated, "Isis, extend your protection about Imsety who is in you, O honored before Imsety, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Awibre (Hor)".



Middle Kingdom canopic jars


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