Mask of Anubis

This mask of Anubis was worn by the priest, who was responsible for the embalming, during the process of mummification. The ears of Anubis are always erect to show the thoughtful attitude of the jackal, as the protector god of the necropolis.

Masks of Anubis were often made of various materials, including wood, gold, or precious metals, and were used in funerary rituals and burials to invoke the protection and guidance of Anubis for the deceased.

Head of Anubis. Louvre. N 4096
Head of Anubis. Louvre. N 4096

In some versions of ancient Egyptian religious beliefs Anubis assisted in the mummification and rebirth of the god Osiris. This responsibility for mummification and eventual rebirth is the same role Anubis fulfills for the human dead.

Anubis is the Greek name of a jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian mythology. Like many ancient Egyptian deities, Anubis assumed different roles in various contexts. Depicted as a protector of graves as early as the 1st Dynasty (ca. 3100-2890 BC).

Anubis was also an embalmer. One of his prominent roles was as a god who ushered souls into the afterlife. He was represented as a black dog or in a hybrid form with the head of a dog and the body of a man.

Mask of Anubis
Mask of Anubis

Anubis was the lord of the necropolis and oversaw embalming rites; he was also responsible for guiding the dead to the Underworld and presenting them before Osiris for the weighing of the soul. During the funerary ceremonies, the role of the god was interpreted by a priest who wore the mask of a jackal.

As the god ‘who is in the embalming tent’ he oversees the process of mummification, and is often shown leaning over the mummified body. Anubis also supports the upright mummy near the tomb entrance in Opening of the Mouth ceremonies, where rituals ensure the justified dead will be able to breathe, speak and see again.

New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty, ca. 1292-1189 BC. Now in the Louvre. N 4096

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