Canopic Jars were used by the ancient Egyptian during the rituals
of mummification processes. These were used as containers in
which to hold the internal organs of the deceased that was going
to be mummified.
The ancient Egyptians before mummifying their pharaohs and
dead took out the internal soft organs. These organs contained
a lot of fluid and could cause the body to putrefy and decompose
The jars had lids or stoppers that were shaped as the head
of one of the minor funerary deities known as the Four Sons
It was the job of these four deities to protect the internal
organs of the deceased; the Ancient Egyptians firmly believed
that the deceased required his or her organs in order to be
reborn in the Afterlife. For use in the afterlife they would
be bandaged and vital organs placed individually in Canopic
The jars were made of several materials such as limestone,
calicite or alabaster. The finishing touch would be the stoppers
being shaped like human heads, and later as Jackal, Baboon
and Falcon heads. These jars were usually grouped in fours
and placed alongside the Sarcophagi, and were supposedly guarded
by the Sons of Horus.
The baboon-headed Hapy guarded the lungs. The human-headed
Imsety was the guardian of the liver. Jackal-headed Duamutef
guarded the stomach and upper intestines and falcon-headed
Qebehsenuef guarded the lower intestines.
Canopic jars of the Old Kingdom (about 2686-2181 BC) are almost
never inscribed, and have a plain lid. In the Middle Kingdom
(about 2025-1700 BC), canopic jars are often inscribed, and
the lids are often human headed. In the Nineteenth Dynasty
and later each of the four lids takes the form of a different
head - falcon, human, jackal and baboon (denoting the four
children of Horus).
The four canopic jars that the internal organs were placed
in are also buried with the deceased.