About this object

Anubis was a deity who appeared as either a man with a jackal’s head or as a complete jackal. He was the god of mummification and protector of the dead. He is often shown making a mummy or weighing the heart of the deceased in the Hall of Judgement. The Egyptians knew that jackals fed on the dead at night. To ease their minds, the jackal became Anubis, a guardian of the cemetery rather than a scavenger. The Egyptians called Anubis ‘he who is upon his mountain’ as if he were sitting up high guarding the cemetery. From the 25th Dynasty (after 747 BC) wooden figures of jackals like this were placed upon outermost coffin lids, placing the dead under the protection of Anubis.

This wooden figure of a recumbent jackal is painted black and there are signs of previous repair around the neck and the end where there is now no sign of where a separate tail was once attached. There are no obvious signs of how this was once attached to a coffin lid or chest.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Late Period
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date made
    747 BC - 332 BC
  • Materials
    Paint; Wood; Gesso
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, Ancient Egypt Gallery
  • Acquisition
    Gift of the Trustees of the Wellcome Collection
  • Collector
    Henry Solomon Wellcome
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date collected
    1930 before
  • Measurements
    225 mm x 76 mm x 440 mm
  • Note
    Purchased at Sotheby's lot 15, 10 April 1930.
  • Related people
    Wellcome Historical Medical Museum ( Previous owner); Henry Solomon Wellcome ( Collector, previous owner)


Previous owners

Object view = Humanities
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