Egypt, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, ca. 1479 to 1401 BCE. A fantastic example of a ceramic canopic jar lid, with the face of the god Imsety molded and painted onto the side of the lid. Much of the jar is taken up by a bright blue glaze that creates the flowing wig of the god; his face occupies a small part of the side, with a raised nose and lips and deepset eyes. Black paint gives the idea of kohl around the eyes. The interior of the jar lid is painted bright white, as is the very lower part of the rim. Size: 6.35" W x 3.2" H (16.1 cm x 8.1 cm)
Canopic jars are some of the most iconic artifacts from Egypt, made to hold internal organs removed during the mummification process. This tradition lasted for an incredibly long time - the first evidence for a canopic chest containing organs comes from the Fourth Dynasty (ca. 2600 BCE) and they were used into the late 1st millennium BCE. The 18th Dynasty marked a shift in canopic jar tradition, when these jars were given to all people of status, and when their heads were fashioned to look like the four Sons of Horus, including Imsety. The Four Sons were charged with protecting the internal organs, as they had originally been charged with protecting the body of Osiris. Imsety protected the liver and had a special relationship with the goddess Isis.
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: private Pasadena, California, USA collection; ex-doctor's collection, assembled in Los Angeles, California, USA in the 1960s-1970s
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