"They cause the King to mount up to Khepera when he comes into being in the eastern side of the sky"
We continue our discovery of the Mummification Museum of Luxor today, with these four alabaster canopic jars that belong to Wahibre Men-Neferu, son of Psametic.
Canopic jars were used to preserve the viscera of the deceased after mummification. With the exception for the heart, which was needed by the deceased in the Halls of Ma'at (Hall of Judgment), all of the organs were removed from the body.
Each jar is protected by one of the 4 sons of Horus:
- Imesti with a human head protecting the liver
- Qebehsenuf with a falcon's head protecting the intestines
- Duamutef with a jackal's head protecting the stomach
- Hapy with a baboon's head protecting the lungs
During the Old Kingdom, the stoppers of the canopic jars used to be flat or rounded. From the First Intermediate Period until the end of the 18th Dynasty, the stoppers of the canopic jars were shaped like the face of the deceased. After this time, the stoppers started to be depicted as the four Sons of Horus.
According to legend, the four deities have come forth from a water lily, that rose from the waters of Nun. They were then rescued by the crocodile god Sobek and given funerary duties by Anubis. They can also be seen in the Halls of Ma'at where they stand before Osiris on a half-opened blue water lily during the judgement of the deceased.
"I am Imsety, thy son, O Osiris Ani, whose word is truth. I come to protect thee. I will make thy house to flourish, permanently, even as Ptah hath commanded me, and as Ra himself hath commanded." - Papyrus of Ani
"I am thy son, O Osiris Ani, whose word is truth. I come to protect thee. I have collected thy bones and I have gathered together thy members. [I have brought thy heart, and I have placed it upon its throne within thy body. I make thy house to flourish after thee, O thou who livest for ever.]" - Papyrus of Ani
"I am thy son Horus, who loveth thee. I come to avenge thee, O my father Osiris, upon him that did evil unto thee. I have set him under thy feet for ever and for ever, permanently, permanently, O Osiris Ani, whose word is truth, whose word is truth." - Papyrus of Ani
"I am Hapy, thy son, O Osiris Ani, whose word is truth. I come to protect thee. I bind together thy head and the members of thy body. I smite down for thee thine enemies under thee. I give unto thee thy head for ever and for ever, O Osiris Ani, whose word is truth, whose word is truth in peace." - Papyrus of Ani
Horus presenting the deceased to Osiris. The fours sons on Horus standing on the water lily in front of Osiris. Luxor Mummification Museum.