Sons of Horus

Ancient Egypt for kids - The Four Sons of Horus & Canopic Jars

The history of ancient Egypt and the four Sons of Horus: Imsety, Hapy, Duamutef and Qebehsenuef.

Sons of Horus - Canopic Jars
Discover interesting facts and information about the history of Ancient Egypt and the four Sons of Horus. Horus was the falcon-headed solar and sky god and protector of the monarchy of ancient Egypt. He performed duties of a friendly nature for the dead.  During the process of mummification the four organs of the liver, lungs, stomach and intestines were placed in special containers called canopic jars.

The canopic jars were identified and protected by four different gods who were the sons of Horus. The names of the Sons of Horus were Imsety, Hapy, Duamutef and Qebehsenuef. Explore the fascinating world of Sons of Horus and Canopic jars.

The Eye of Horus

Horus, the falcon god

Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

The Four Sons of Horus & Canopic Jars
The 4 Sons of Horus, Qebehsenuef (hawk head), Hapy (baboon head), Duamutef (jackal head) and Imsety (man-headed) who featured on Canopic Jars are depicted facing their father in the following picture. Their roles were so important that each of the four sons of Horus were protected by powerful female gods. The names of the sons of Horus, their protectors and duties are detailed in this article.

Canopic Jars & the Four Sons of Horus - Qebehsenuef
Qebehsenuef was depicted as a mummified man with the head of a hawk who protected the intestines that were contained in a Canopic jar.

Canopic Jars & the Four Sons of Horus - Hapy
Hapy was depicted as a mummified man with the head of a baboon and protected the lungs that were contained in a Canopic jar.

Canopic Jars & the Four Sons of Horus - Duamutef
Duamutef was depicted as a mummified man with the head of a jackal & protected the stomach contained in a Canopic jar.

Canopic Jars & the Four Sons of Horus - Imsety
Imsety was depicted as the mummified man-headed god who protected the liver that were contained in a Canopic jar.

The Sons of Horus and the Eye

The Sons of Horus - Mummification and the Canopic Jars
Canopic jars were wide necked funerary jars that were designed as special containers for the large human organs that were called the viscera. The viscera are the are the large inside organs of the body, such as the liver, lungs, stomach and intestines. These four organs were extracted during the process of mummification. The heart was left in the body as it was believed to embody the soul. The Ancient Egyptians believed the dead person would need their organs in the afterlife and that they should be carefully stored and buried in the tomb of the corpse. The lungs, stomach, liver and intestines were individually wrapped in linen and placed into the Canopic jars. A resinous oil, that had been duly consecrated was poured over them. The canopic jars were then ritually closed and conserved together for "eternity" in a canopic chest.

Interesting Information and Facts about the Sons of Horus
The following chart, or fact sheet, details pictures and interesting Facts about the four Sons of Horus who featured on Canopic Jars. The Fact Sheet details many facts and fascinating pieces of interesting information, history, mythology and legends about these four deities of ancient Egypt and Canopic Jars.

History and Facts about Sons of Horus & Canopic Jars

Sons of Horus Fact 1: The canopic jars took on the form of animal and bird heads of the sons of Horus in the period referred to as the New Kingdom. At first the jars were a flat or domed shape and then depicted the form of a human head.

Sons of Horus Fact 2: The existence  of the Sons of Horus dates back at least to the Old Kingdom

Sons of Horus Fact 3: The earliest reference to the Sons of Horus  is found in the Pyramid Texts where they are described as assisting the king in his ascension to heaven in the eastern sky by means of ladders.

Sons of Horus Fact 4: The Sons of Horus featured on Canopic Jars represent the four cardinal directions and are also portrayed on the four corners of the sarcophagus

Sons of Horus Fact 5: According to Egyptian mythology the Sons of Horus were born from a lotus flower

Sons of Horus Fact 6: The Sons of Horus on Canopic Jars were all solar gods and associated with the creation myths

Sons of Horus Fact 7: It was believed that Anubis, the god of the dead, gave the Sons of Horus the funerary duties of mummification

Sons of Horus Fact 8: The Sons of Horus were retrieved from the primeval waters of Nun by the crocodile- headed god Sobek on the orders of Ra, the Supreme Solar God.

Sons of Horus Fact 9: The Sons of Horus on Canopic Jars were originally either stars or the 'pillars of the sky' assisting Shu (the air god) in his task of holding the sky up.

Sons of Horus Fact 10: In addition to their presence on coffins and Canopic jars equipment, amulets of the Sons of Horus  were attached to the bandages or other mummy wrappings.

History and Facts about Sons of Horus & Canopic Jars

The Sons of Horus - Qebehsenuef Canopic Jar with the Hawk Head
The Egyptian god Qebehsenuef was the god of protection and of the West. The North and West was represented on the on the right-hand side of the coffin. The god is also referred to as Kebhsenuf and Kebehsenuf. In the preparation of mummies, his canopic jar was used for the intestines. He was depicted as a mummy with a falcon head. The falcon and Qebehsenuef is associated with Horus himself, the solar god. In chapter, or Spell, 151 of the Book of the Dead protective words are spoken by the children of Horus on behalf of the deceased. The Words spoken by Qebehsenuef are:

I am your son, Osiris, I have come to be your protection
I have united your bones for you, I have assembled your limbs for you
I have brought you your heart, and placed it for you at its place in your body
I have strengthened your house after you, as you live, eternally

The Sons of Horus - Imsety Canopic Jar with the Human Head
The Egyptian god Imsety was the god of protection and of the South. The South and East was represented on the on the left-hand side of the coffin. The god is also referred to as Amset, Imset, Mesta and Kesta. The human head links the god to the depictions of Osiris, the god of death. In chapter, or Spell, 151 of the Book of the Dead protective words are spoken by the children of Horus on behalf of the deceased. The Words spoken by Imsety are:

I am your son, Osiris, I have come to be your protection
I have strengthened your house enduringly
As Ptah decreed in accordance with what Ra himself decrees

The Sons of Horus - Hapy Canopic Jar with the Baboon Head
The Egyptian god Hapy was the god of protection and of the North. The North and West was represented on the on the right-hand side of the coffin. The god is also referred to as Hapy. The baboon is associated with the moon. In chapter, or Spell, 151 of the Book of the Dead protective words are spoken by the children of Horus on behalf of the deceased. The Words spoken by Hapy are:

I have come to be your protection
I have bound your head and your limbs for you
I have smitten you enemies beneath you for you, and given you your head, eternally

The Sons of Horus - Duamutef Canopic Jar with the Jackal Head
The Egyptian god Duamutef was the god of protection and of the East. The South and East was represented on the on the left-hand side of the coffin. Duamutef was also referred to as also Tuamutef. The jackal is associated with Anubis, the god of the dead and embalming.In chapter, or Spell, 151 of the Book of the Dead protective words are spoken by the children of Horus on behalf of the deceased. The Words spoken by Duamutef are:

I am your son, Osiris, I am your son Horus, your beloved
I have come to rescue my father Osiris from his assailant
I place him under your legs, eternally

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