Sons of Horus {976-889 BCE}


Mansfield, United States

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featured in All things Egyptian

Detail from the interior of the coffin of Nesykhonsu, Thebes, late Dynasty 21~early Dynasty 22 from the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art

During mummification the liver, lungs, stomach and intestines were removed, separately embalmed and stored in canopic jars {named after a sailor in Greek mythology who died at Canopus in the Nile Delta and was worshipped there in the form of a human-headed jar. Each organ was identified with one of four funerary deities known as the Sons of Horus. The liver with Imsety {man’s head}; the lungs with Hapi {baboon’s head}; the stomach with Duamutef {jackal’s head}; the intestines with Qebehsenuef {falcon’s head}. It was their duty to protect the deceased and restore these body parts in the hereafter.

Horus (the elder) had numerous wives and children, and his ‘four sons’ were grouped together and generally said to be born of Isis. The four were known as: Duamutef, Imsety, Hapi and Qebehsenuef. They were born from a lotus flower and were solar gods associated with the creation. They were retrieved from the waters of Nun by Sobek on the orders of Re. It was believed that Anubis gave them the funerary duties of mummification, the Opening of the Mouth, the burial of Osiris and all men. Horus later made them protectors of the four cardinal points. In the Hall of Ma’at they sat on a lotus flower in front of Osiris. Most commonly, however, they were remembered as the protectors of the internal organs of the deceased. Each son protected an organ, and each son was protected by a goddess.

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egypt coffin canopic spirits horus

Artwork Comments

  • artwhiz47
  • WonderlandGlass
  • Dawnsky2
  • WonderlandGlass
  • Dawn B Davies-McIninch
  • WonderlandGlass
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