Anubis in human form

Arguably one of the most famous Ancient Egyptian deities recognized in the modern world, Anubis (jnpw), known to the Egyptians as Anpu, is an icon of the ancient world. From books to movies, his likeness still remains a favourite, and he is recognized worldwide, often springing to mind when Ancient Egypt is mentioned in entertainment or even in passing conversation.

Even those least knowledgable on Ancient Egyptian history are aware of his image; the famous black jackal headed man or full-bodied jackal laying proudly like a sphinx has been etched in the human psyche, and he remains a symbol of Egypt past and present.

Anubis Shrine of Tutankhamun. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 61444
Anubis Shrine of Tutankhamun. New Kingdom, late 18th Dynasty, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1232-1223 BC.
From the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62), Valley of the Kings, West Thebes.
Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 61444

Since the earliest days of Ancient Egypt, Anubis was a protector of the dead, guide of the Underworld, protector of graves and the god of embalming.

It is thought that the jackal became associated with death due to their roaming presence around the Pre Dynastic cemeteries and burial sites. It is thought that the idea of the jackal being a protective deity for the dead came from this. It is easy to believe that a roaming pack of wild dogs warning off grave robbers or perhaps delinquent spiritual entities became rather comforting to those mourning their loved ones. However, this is of course impossible to know and is conjecture at best.

Despite Anubis being depicted more often than not with his jackal form, be it full bodied or head alone, there is a rare glimpse of Anubis in human form that appears within the Temple of Ramesses II at Abydos. In this wonderful photograph taken by Manna4u at flickr, you have a wonderful, high quality glimpse at an absolutely rare depiction of the god Anpu/Anubis.

Anubis in human form at the Temple of Ramesses II, Abydos.
Anubis in human form at the Temple of Ramesses II, Abydos.
Photograph by Manna4u @ flickr

Anubis firmly stands in pop culture as the jackal headed god, yet recent studies have somewhat shaken this idea, as DNA analysis of the Egyptian Jackal, actually proves their species descends from the wolf, and is of the gray wolf family.

Daily Mail
Daily Mail