Canopic Jar of Duamutef

Duamutef, the jackal-headed son of Horus, protected the stomach of the deceased and was in turn protected by the goddess Neith. The four sons of Horus were a group of four gods in ancient Egyptian religion, who were essentially the personifications of the four canopic jars, which accompanied mummified bodies. Here is Duamutef canopic jar decorated with a lid in the shape of a jackal head, sacred animal of Anubis.

The name Duamutef means “He who adores his mother”. In war, the most frequent cause of death was from injuries in the torso and stomach. The deity protecting this organ was associated with death by war and gained the name Duamutef, meaning “adoring his motherland”.

Canopic Jar of Duamutef
Canopic Jar of Duamutef. Photo: Sandro Vannini

Duamutef was originally represented as a man wrapped in mummy bandages. From the New Kingdom onwards, he is shown with the head of a jackal. In some cases his appearance is confused or exchanged with that of his falcon-headed brother Qebehsenuef, so he has the head of a falcon and Qebehsenuef has the head of a jackal. He usually was depicted on coffins and as the lid of canopic jars. Many images of the Judgement of the Dead show him together with his brothers in front of Osiris on a small lily flower.

Third Intermediate Period, 21st Dynasty, ca. 990-976 BC. From the Royal Cachette (DB320), Deir el-Bahari, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 26254