Late Period, Dynasty XXVI (664-525 BC)
Provenance: Memphis ?, later Drovetti Collection, 1824
Inv. Nr. C. 3208 (CGT 19028-19031)
These four vessels once held the internal organs of Wah-ib-ra. Removed during mummification, the organs were usually placed in vessels called canopic jars that were capped with head of the relevant protective deity, one of the Four Sons of Horus. The iconography of these deities was developed in the New Kingdom. Amset shown as a man protected the liver and spiritually the Ka-essence of the deceased (and he claimed protection from Isis). Hapi the baboon safeguarded the lungs (and came under the orbit of Nephthys). Duamutef the jackal protected the stomach, and spiritually the Ba-spirit (and came under the goddess Neith). Kebehsenef the falcon protected the intestines and spiritually the Sa-aspect of the deceased (and claimed protection from the goddess Selket, the scorpion). The inscriptions on these vessels also invoke the goddesses Isis and Nephthys (sisters), Nut and Selket the four protector-goddesses of the dead, who are often represented on the corners of coffins and funerary shrine. Sometime in the Twenty-first Dynasty, funerary practices changed and the internal organs were repacked in the dried out cavities of the deceased. Nevertheless, the tradition of including the canopic jars in the tomb was so strong that they continued to be made and were sometimes not even hollow vases, but dummies.