Egyptology collection

Death and burial

Anubis mask

Mask in the form of the jackal head Anubis, ancient Egyptian god of embalming and the dead.

During funeral services the coffin was held upright in front of the tomb by a priest wearing a mask of the jackal god Anubis.

It is one of only three surviving masks made for the living and the only one allowing the wearer to speak.

It would have been worn by a priest over 2000 years ago, during funeral rituals such as the 'Opening of the Mouth' ceremony when the mouth, eyes, nose and ears of the mummy were touched to restore the senses.

It is made of cartonnage, layers of linen and papyrus, stiffened with plaster and then painted.

This mask once had a home in the North Yorkshire farmhouse of Benjamin or 'Benny' Kent. (1884-1968).

C.600-300 BC.
Southern Egypt. Unknown Provenance.

Granite headrest

A finely carved headrest made of dark granite. This would have been placed under the mummy's head.

Possibly C.2500 2000BC
Egypt. Unknown provenance

Canopic jar - Hapy

A canopic jar made of limestone with a lid in the form of the ape-headed god Hapy, who was one of the sons of the god Horus. He guarded the lungs of the dead person. These were removed from the body during the mummification process.

Canopic jars were placed in the tomb with the mummy.

C.1000 600BC
Egypt. Unknown provenance.

Djediufankh's canopic jar

Calcite canopic jar naming the priest Djediufankh. Hieroglyphs on the front read 'servant of the god [the priest], foremost in the house of Amun, Djediufankh, born of Ankhmut and Psamtek'.

The jar had no lid, so stains on the inside were analysed using GCMS. This revealed cholesterol and human bile acid, indicating the jar had once contained a human stomach. This meant the original lid would have been the jackal-headed Duamutef and that this is a canopic jar.

The analysis also revealed the organs had been sterilised using alcohol, which was proven to be date palm wine mixed with imported cinnamon, and conifer and pistacia resins. The resins used on the organs are likely to have been used to perfume bodily decay whilst also having antibacterial qualities.

Canopic jars were used to house the internal organs of the deceased. Each jar was protected by a god who was shown on the jar lid, one of the four sons of Horus. Hapi (ape headed) for the lungs, Imsety (human headed) for the liver, Duamutef (jackal headed) for the stomach and Qebsenuef (falcon headed) for the intestines.

C.664 - 525 BC
Egypt. Unknown provenance.

Mummy mask

This mummy mask is made of cartonnage, a mixture of linen and papyrus, stiffened with plaster. The painted mask is gilded. The eyebrows are made of blue glass. There are the remains of plant material from a garland on the top. This is probably the plant persea (Mimusops Laurifolia).

The mask is thought to have been found somewhere within the large burial grounds of Thebes or Akhmim. These were both used extensively in the Graeco-Roman period. The colour of the paint which includes pink is a clue to the mask 's date.

100 BC-50 AD
Egypt. Unknown provenance.

Mummy case

Mummy case or coffin of an unknown priest. Although the coffin appears to be empty, fluids from the mummy will have survived in the wood and scientific testing will be able to reveal more about the priest portrayed on the coffin lid. He wears a long wig, his eyes are outlined with eye-paint and his ears are pierced. He also wears an amulet necklace and a large collar of lotus flowers and repeated amulet symbols on his coffin provide protection.

C.1070-945 BC
Egypt. Thebes.