This jar represents the human-headed Imsety, who guarded the liver. With long lappets, defined ears, strong nose and prominent facial details. Third Intermediate Period, probably 21st Dynasty, 1069 BC to 945 BC. 10 1/2 inches high. Intact. Possibly from a workshop. Purchased in Egypt in 1975, by Dr. M. R. of New York. Purchased from a well-respected, licensed antiquities dealer in Luxor named Mohamed Hassani, whose shop was right next to the Old Winter Palace Hotel. For similar, see a complete set of
dummy canopic jars sold at Sothebys, NY 6/12/2001, lot 330. Also see reference in Mummies and Magic, no. 117.
By the time of the 21st Dynasty, there was a great deal of looting of the tombs and often the robbers broke the canopic jars in their search for treasure, and in the process destroying the internal organs they contained. Soon, it was realized that canopic jars were not a good way to preserve the organs, and this led to a change in mummification. After the embalmers removed and dehydrated the internal organs, they rolled them into packets and placed them in the abdominal cavity, where they would be safer. However, ancient Egyptians still wanted the protection of the four sons of Horus, so they started carving "dummy canopic jars" -- jars that still had the heads of the sons of Horus, but didn't have to be hollowed out because they didn't have to contain anything.