Canopic Jar of the Overseer of the Builders of Amun, Amenhotep
New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Amenhotep II (about 1427–1400 BCE)
About this artwork
One of a set of four jars that belonged to Amenhotep, who oversaw architectural projects in the temple of Amun at Karnak (in present-day Luxor). Now empty, the jars once held Amenhotep’s liver, lungs, intestines, and stomach, which were removed during the mummification process. Each jar has a hand-sculpted stopper that may represent its owner or one of the four sons of Horus, a set of gods associated with these vital organs. An inscription in hieroglyphs on each container promises divine protection over its contents by a different goddess: Selket, Neith, Nephthys, or Isis.
Words spoken by Neith: “I place my arms on that which is in me, I protect the Hapi which is in me [of] the Overseer of the Builders of Amun, Amenhotep, revered by Hapi, Amenhotep.”
a (jar): 31.7 × 19 × 19.6 cm (12 1/5 × 7 1/5 × 7 3/4 in.)
b (lid): 12.7 × 12.7 × 13.3 cm (5 × 5 × 5 1/4 in.)
Gift of Henry H. Getty, Charles L. Hutchinson, and Norman W. Harris
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Thomas George Allen, A Handbook of the Egyptian Collection (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1923), p. 19 (ill.), 20, 64, 156.
Nicholas Reeves, Egyptian Art at Eton College: Selections from the Myers Museum, exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; Windsor: Eton College, 1999), p. 24 [as Oriental Institute Museum, Chicago 92.36-39].
Karen B. Alexander, “From Plaster to Stone: Ancient Art at the Art Institute of Chicago,” in Karen Manchester, Recasting the Past: Collecting and Presenting Antiquities at the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), p. 21, fig. 5.
Nicholas Reeves, “Amenhotep, Overseer of the Builders of Amun: An Eighteenth-Dynasty Burial Reassembled,” in the Metropolitan Museum Journal 48, 1 (2013), p. 14, fig. 12.
Art Institute of Chicago, Grave Goods from Ancient Cultures, Gallery 141, November 9, 1991 - May 17, 1992.
Art Institute of Chicago, Ancient Art Galleries, Gallery 154A, April 20, 1994 - February 6, 2012.
Art Institute of Chicago, When the Greeks Ruled: Egypt After Alexander the Great, October 31, 2013 - July 27, 2014.
Art Institute of Chicago, Life and Afterlife in Ancient Egypt, Feb. 11, 2022 - present.
The Art Institute of Chicago, acquired in Egypt, 1892; price reimbursed by Henry H. Getty and Charles L. Hutchinson, 1892.
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