Egyptian Terracotta Canopic Jar Lid: Imsety
An ancient Egyptian painted terracotta lid for a Canopic Jar in the form of one of the four sons of Horus, the human-headed god Imsety, guardian of the liver.
New Kingdom, 18th dynasty.
During the mummification process, the liver, stomach, intestines, and lungs had to be removed to allow the corpse's interior to dry. In the Fourth Dynasty, the Egyptians began storing these vital organs in four separate vessels, called canopic jars, and burying them with the mummy. Eighteenth Dynasty craftsmen started making canopic jar lids representing the four sons of Horus, who were charged with preserving the vital organs of the deceased in the Afterlife. The human-headed god Imsety protected the liver.
Cf. Art Institute of Chicago inv. no. 1892.36a (lid); W C. Hayes, The Sceptre of Egypt, Vol. II, New York, p. 228, fig. 135.
Formerly in a New York private collection, acquired at Hotel Drouot, Paris, May 10, 1995; previously in a French private collection.