c1400 BC Ancient Egyptian Carved Limestone Canopic Jar Lid


A stunning early Ancient Egyptian carved recrystalised limestone Falcon Head Lid for a Canopic Jar, in which the Egyptians placed the organs of the mummy.

The falcon head represents Qebehsenuef, the son of Horus and is one of 4 different jars that would have been in the tomb. It is represented as the head of a falcon wearing a human wig. The design is stylistically archaic. The lid is widest at its lip, then tapers off below where it would be inserted into the jar. The stone is recrystalised limestone and has a light buff colour, with the slightly translucent crystalline structure both lighter and darker in colour. Condition is very good with a nibble to the lid edge.

The Canopic jar dates from around 1400BC, during the New Kingdom (1550-1077BC), which was when the tradition of storing the organs in jars with the heads of animals first started. They continued to be used right up to the Ptolemaic Period. The use of recrystalised limestone was prevalent in the earlier period (Early Dynastic Period (3100 -2686BC) and Old Kingdom (2700-2200BC), but would have carried on in lesser form in the New Kingdom.

The ancient Egyptians used the Canopic jars during the mummification process to preserve the internal organs that were removed from the dead body like the stomach, intestines, lungs, and liver as it was believed that they would be needed in the afterlife. Egyptians used Canopic jars from the time of the Egypt Kingdom to the Ptolemaic Period and they were commonly made of pottery. Each one had a lid depicted one of the four sons of Horus, as guardians of the organs. The human-headed Imsety was the guardian of the liver, the baboon-headed Hapy looked after the lungs, the jackal-headed Duamutef was responsible for the stomach, and the falcon-headed Qebehsenuef cared for the intestines.

Size: 14.5 x 13.5 cm (5 ¾ x 5 ¼ inches)
Weight: 2437g