Mummy Plaque of Psusennes I

This plaque, or thin plate, was placed on the mummy of king Psusennes I over the incision made in the lower abdomen to remove the internal organs. The plate was intended to heal and form a scar over the incision. In the center of the plate, there is a sacred wadjet eye flanked by the Four Sons of Horus, depicted standing with upraised arms as a sign of devotion. 

Hieroglyphs are engraved in the gold above the scene with the names of the Four Sons of Horus and the cartouche of the king. The entire scene and the text are framed by a thin incised line with holes at the four corners allowing the plate to be attached to the mummy’s bindings.

Plaque of King Psusennes I. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 85821
Mummy Plaque of Psusennes I. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 85821

The visceral incision is a cut made by embalmers in the lower abdomen during the mummification process in order to remove the internal organs. This amulet was meant to protect the mummy by protecting this vital wound in a vulnerable part of the body.

The mummy plaque symbolically healed the scar and protected the body from the entrance of evil entities. The fours deities are praying to the Wadjet eye, or the eye of Horus, at the center of the plaque, ensuing the body’s ‘wholeness’ and in order to protect the deceased from evil.

The four gods are: (left to right) Hapy, the baboon headed figure and guardian of the lungs; Imsety, the human headed figure guardian of the liver; Duamutef, the jackal-headed figure and guardian of the stomach; and Qebehsenuef, who is a falcon-headed being and guardian of the intestines.

They most commonly appear as the guardians of the canopic jars, where the entrails of the deceased are interred. Each deity’s name is inscribed above his head.

Mummy Plaque of Psusennes I
Mummy Plaque of Psusennes I

Third Intermediate Period, 21st Dynasty, ca. 1047-1001 BC. From tomb of Psusennes I, Tanis. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 85821

Follow Egypt Museum on Facebook to get latest posts and updates.