New Kingdom, ca. 1550-1069 BC - Egypt
This lid to a canopic jar has been carved of fine-grained white limestone and sculpted as the head of a falcon (representing Qebehsenuef, one of the Four Sons of Horus, protectors of the viscera of the deceased).
Background: Central to the religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians was the desire to preserve the body for all eternity.To this end, during the process of mummification, the major internal organs of the body, including the lungs, liver, stomach, and intestines were removed. But because these organs were considered as important as the rest of the remains of the deceased, they were not discarded, but embalmed separately and stored in canopic jars. Canopic jars are among the most intriguing of Egyptian art works. They functioned and were treated as miniature mummies. They were made of various materials such as travertine, limestone, alabaster, and clay. Early canopic jars, from the Old Kingdom, were simple stone or pottery vessels with flat or domed lids. During the middle kingdom, they were shaped in the form of human heads, usually portraits of the deceased, counterparts to the portraits on the coffins in which the bodies were placed. By the time of the New Kingdom, canopic jar decoration changed again. Now jar lids took on their classic shapes and were given the heads of the four sons of Horus who protected the internal organs. Hapi, the baboon, protected the lungs. Duamutef, the dog/jackal, protected the stomach. Imseti, with a human face, guarded the Liver, and Qubehsenuef, represented as a falcon, presided over the intestines.
Condition: Small chip to back and base that do not detract, otherwise intact and in excellent condition overall. A very fine example that is custom mounted.
Provenance: Private collection Switzerland, acquired in the 1960's and then by descent, legally imported into the USA in 2016.
No export licenses required however this piece may be subject to import tax/duties.
Shipping method: Fedex (including insurance).
The seller hereby guarantees the lot to be authentic, acquired by legal means and due diligence conducted to ensure stated provenance.
Based in historic Georgetown, Washington DC, Sands of Time Ancient Art gallery offer a wide range of exceptional antiquities, carefully selected for their historical importance, intrinsic beauty and artistic value. All objects sold by Sands of Time are guaranteed for authenticity and provenance, and are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and related documentation. Our extensive collection includes museum-quality art in stone, bronze, pottery, glass and gold from ancient civilizations ranging from the ancient Near East and Egypt to the Greek, Etruscan, Roman, Byzantine, PreColumbian and Gandharan worlds.
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