Canopic Jar Lid (Falcon-headed)
Falcon-headed lid of a canopic jar, carved of Egyptian alabaster, creamy-brown with dark brown horizontal veins; the surface has a very high polish. Qebehsenuef was a falcon-headed deity who protected the intestines of the deceased. Diameter of the boss is 85 mm and the height is 18 mm. From a jar inscribed for a priest called Ahmose, whose name likely means ‘the moon has given birth’. Ahmose’s canopic jars are some of the first Egyptian antiquities to be collected by European explorers. In 1719 his canopic jars were drawn by Bernard Montaucon (1655 - 1741) a French Benedictine monk and scholar who published them in his book, ‘L'antiquité expliquée et representée en figures’ (later translated into English ‘Antiquity Explained and Represented in Sculptures’). Each jar is inscribed for a priest called Ahmose, whose name means ‘the moon has given birth’. The two other jars from Ahmose’s set of four are now in the collections of the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Calvet Museum in Avignon. Purchased at Sotheby's 23-24 July 1917 Lot 172/4: "FOUR CANOPIC JARS IN ALABASTER, comprising Mestha, the man-headed - 17 in. high ; Hapi, the ape-headed - 14 in. high ; Qebhsennuf, the hawk-headed - 13 in. high ; and Tuamutef, the jackal-headed - 15 in. high. All the vases, with the exception of the first, fully inscribed - a remarkable set of the highest importance [PLATE IV.]".