Canopic Chest of King Tutankhamun

This alabaster canopic chest of Tutankhamun is considered to be one of the finest masterpieces of King Tut’s collection.

The interior of the chest is divided into four compartments, each with a cylindrical hollow covered by a lid elegantly carved in the form of the king’s head. At the four corners of the chest, carved in high relief, are four goddesses: Isis, Nephthys, Neith and Serket, who stretch out their arms to protect the contents of the chest.

Canopic chest of King Tutankhamun
Canopic chest of King Tutankhamun

Each of the four compartments of the canopic chest held a miniature coffin. Covered in linen, they stood upright in their cylindrical compartments. Each was almost glued to the bottom owing to the hardening of the unguents that had been poured in as part of the ritual. It was the duty of the goddess Nepthys, whose name is inscribed on the front, to protect the lungs of Tutankhamun, which were placed inside, after first being preserved. The figure, fashioned of solid beaten gold, contains inlays of colored glass and semiprecious stones. It is very close in design to the second coffin in which Tutankhamun was buried; in fact, it is almost a miniature version.

From the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62), Valley of the Kings, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 60687