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Very early on in Egyptian history the jackal was an animal associated with death and cemeteries. This may be because people were seeking magical protection against jackals which fed on the dead at night. To ease their minds, the jackal became associated with Anubis, a guardian of the cemetery rather than a scavenger.
As the god of mummification and protector of the dead, Anubis was an important god and images of him frequently feature in Egyptian art. The jackal is also associated with a lesser-known deity called Duamutef. He protected the stomachs of the dead which were placed inside a canopic jar, covered by a lid in the shape of a jackal’s head.
There are several depictions of Anubis in the new Ancient Egypt gallery at World Museum. Find out more about the examples shown above in our online collection pages: