Canopic Jar Lid (Jackal-headed)

LL 5137


Jackal-headed lid from a canopic jar. Carved from Egyptian alabaster, cream coloured with with horizontal veins. The surface has a very high polish. The head has an almost semi-circular outline when viewed from the front, very small pointed ears and a muzzle resting directly on the chest. The jackal-headed deity who was called Duamutef and he protected the stomach of the deceased. Diameter of boss 92 mm; thickness of boss 18 mm. This lid is one 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 (Hope sale) 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.]".