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Egypt



Description: Amulet in blue glazed faience depicting KEBHSENUF. Some original paint showing. Kebhsenuf or Qebehsenuf (one of the four sons of Ra or Horus) -Hawk-headed -protector of liver and gall. With piercings so that the figure could be sewn onto a mummy.
Period: 26th Dynasty 663-525 B.C.
Size: 78mm
Reference: Petrie P182e
Comment: Ex Belmont Collection

Egyptian funerary rituals

In ancient Egyptian funerary ritual, canopic jars were covered vessel of wood, stone, pottery, or faience in which was buried the embalmed viscera removed from a body during the process of mummification. The earliest Canopic jars, which came into use during the Old Kingdom (c. 2575-c. 2130 BC), had plain lids; but during the Middle Kingdom (c. 1938-c. 1600? BC) the jars were decorated with sculpted human heads, probably representations of the deceased; from the 19th dynasty until the end of the New Kingdom (1539-1075 BC), the heads represented the four sons of the god Horus (i.e., jackal-headed Duamutef, falcon-headed Qebehsenuf, human-headed Imset, and baboon-headed Hapy). In the 20th dynasty (1190-1075 BC) the practice began of returning the embalmed viscera to the body, and the art of making Canopic jars subsequently declined.

Horus - Egyptian HOR, OR HAR, in ancient Egyptian religion, was a god in the form of a falcon whose eyes were the sun and the moon. Falcon cults were widespread in Egypt. At Nekhen (Greek: Hierakonpolis), however, the conception arose that the reigning king was a manifestation of Horus and, after Egypt had been united by the kings from Nekhen, this conception became a generally accepted dogma. The first of the Egyptian king's five names was the Horus name - i.e., the name that identified him with Horus.

From the 1st dynasty (c. 2525-2775 BC), Horus and the god Seth were perpetual antagonists who were reconciled in the harmony of Upper and Lower Egypt. In the myth of Osiris, who became prominent about 2350 BC, Horus was the son of Osiris. He was also the opponent of Seth, who murdered Osiris and contested Horus' heritage, the royal throne of Egypt. Horus finally defeated Seth, thus avenging his father and assuming the rule. In the fight his left eye (i.e., the moon) was damaged--this being a mythical explanation of the moon's phases--and was healed by the god Thoth. The figure of the restored eye (the wedjat eye) became a powerful amulet.

Originally most solar gods had falcon form and were assimilated to Horus. By the 4th dynasty (c. 2575-c. 2465 BC), however, Re had risen to his leading position. Many syncretisms were formed between Re and other gods, producing such names as Re-Harakhty, Amon-Re, Sebek-Re, and Khnum-Re. Aspects of other gods influenced Re himself; his falcon-headed appearance as Re-Harakhty originated through association with Horus. The influence of Re was spread from On (Heliopolis), which was the centre of his worship. From the 4th dynasty, kings held the title "Son of Re," and "Re" later became part of the throne name they adopted at accession. As the father of Ma'at, Re was the ultimate source of right and justice in the cosmos.

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