Egyptian Alabaster Canopic Jar with Inscriptions

Egyptian · 26th Dynasty, ca 7th-6th century B.C.




H: 30 cm (11 3/4 in)





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This Vase is in a beautiful block of alabaster, whose veins, horizontal but slightly wavy decoration, are a “natural” effect that the sculptor has perfectly exploited. On the front there is a long inscription in five vertical columns that include a cartouche on behalf of the general “Wahibre-sea-neith” the deceased / owner of the Canopic and burial and the name of Duamutef, the protection god with the head of a Jackel.

The body of the vase is simple and elegant, domed, turned perfectly shaped, with a flat bottom and rounded shoulder, the surface is smooth and highly polished and drilled on the inside to lay the stomach of the deceased . The lid of the jar, top 9 cm, reproduces the head of a falcon.

According to Egyptian beliefs, mummification was an act that is essential to meeting the physical and spiritual self in the beyond: canopic jars are a type of funeral urn that contained viscera, removed from the body during the embalming process. There are Four in number, they are the protection gods, also considered as the children of Horus and are differentiated by the shape of their head, which is a dog (Duamutef attendant to the conservation of the stomach), a hawk ( Qebehsenuef, intestines), a man (Aamset, liver) and a baboon (Hapi, lungs). Associated with the four protective goddesses (Isis, Nephthys, Neith and Selkis), their names were inscribed on the body of the vase.


Ex- French private collection, acquired in the first half of the 20th century


The International Art and Antique Dealers Show, Park Avenue Armory, New York, September 2012


BOTTI G. – ROMANELLI P., Le sculture del Museo Gregoriano egizio, Città del Vaticano, 1961, pl. 45-49.
PAGE-GASSER M. – WIESE A.B., Egypte, Moments d’éternité, Art égyptien dans les collections privées, Suisse, Genève, 1997, pp. 249-250, n. 164.