Canopic Jar of Duamutef

A canopic jar lid with a representation of 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.

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

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”. 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.

Duamutef 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.

One of the Four Sons of Horus, to whose particular protection the stomach was entrusted once it had been removed from the body during mummification. He himself was protected or helped by the goddess Neith. The god was closely connected with the east.

On sarcophagi from the Middle Kingdom on he is usually shown on the eastern side of the foot end. Duamutef is depicted as a man or a man with the head of a jackal. The canopic jar in question could also have a lid shaped like a jackal’s head.

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