Statuette of a Jackal
This statuette represents the god Anubis or Wepwawet, the jackal guardians of burial sites. The figure is solid cast from copper alloy, and the details of its fur are incised. The figure may originally have decorated the top of a shrine.
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.
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.
Late Period, 26th Dynasty, ca. 664-525 BC. Copper alloy. Dimensions: 9.5 × 17.5 × 5.1 cm (3 1/2 × 6 7/8 × 2 in.). Now in the Art Institute of Chicago. 1920.252