Have you ever seen a mummy in its tomb? Cool, right? But have you ever noticed—near the coffin—four jars with either kings' heads or animal heads for lids? Those are the Four Sons of Horus: Imsety, Duamutef, Hapy, and Qebhsenuef, uniting like an underworld Voltron to protect a dead person from danger. Each one is in charge of a different mummified organ, and they carry them inside their magic cookie jar bodies. Yeah, these cookie jars are filled with guts. Yuck.
Four Sons of Horus
Our real names: Imsety (Imset), Duamutef, Hapy (or Hapi, not the same guy as the god of the Nile), and Qebhsenuef (Kebsenuef)
Duat (Osiris's afterworld, before his throne)
Keeping every mummy's vital organs safe:
Anubis and Sokar Funerary School
We serve Osiris and Horus
Horus the Younger (father, even though he's a kid. Weird.) Some say our mother is Isis, but ew?
Jackals, tomb robbers, grave rot
Nobody. We're kids and we're jars.
"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share."
Afterwards by Thomas Hardy
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
The Mummy series is one of our favorites, even if they get it wrong and give Imhotep (and Evy) five canopic jars, instead of four. Do you count five here? Do you?
Our dad, Horus the Younger
Open a tomb and you're likely to find these four hanging out. They're cylindrical jars, each with their own distinctive head, and they each hold a different mummified organ in case the mummy needs it again. Sometimes they're bundled up in their own mini-sarcophagus or in a square shrine that's sitting next to the sarcophagus. If you go to the afterlife, you'll see them hanging out around the front step toward Osiris's throne or standing on top of a lotus flower right in front of his face. But don't misjudge. They're not just decorative—they've got some personality!
Build: Jars (cylindrical and about a foot tall, like cookie jars) with either men's heads for lids or different heads for each lid. If the lids are different, Imsety is a human-headed jar, Duamutef is a jackal-headed jar, Hapy is a baboon-headed jar, and Qebhsenuef is a falcon-headed jar.
Complexion: If all human, medium brown like most Egyptian men in paintings. If different, Imsety is medium brown skinned, Duamutef is a black jackal, Hapy is a brown baboon with a white and blue face, and Qebhsenuef is a golden falcon with blue or black markings.
Hair Color: Black, if they're wearing wigs. Duamutef has black fur as a jackal, and Hapy has brown and white fur as a baboon.
Facial Hair: Sometimes Imsety has a black beard or goatee.
Jewelry and accessories: None. They don't even have hands. They do, however, hold mummified organs inside: Imsety (liver), Duamutef (stomach), Hapy (lungs), and Qebhsenuef (large intestines).
Clothing: As jars, they don't really require clothing.
Type of Weapon: The four goddesses who guard them: Imsety's protectress Isis, Duamutef's protectress Neith, Hapy's protectress Nephthys, and Qebhsenuef's protectress Serqet.
Osiris's throne room
The Duat pool hall on the weekends (Horus shoots a mean round of 8-ball)
Jan 1, 1970 - Jan 1, 1970
In the Pyramid Texts, the Four Sons of Horus appear to help a dead pharaoh get to heaven. They offer him ladders made out of snakes so he can climb up to the stars and join the gods in Ra's sun boat.
Jan 1, 1970
The oldest-known canopic jars were found in the tomb of Queen Hotepheres I. She was Pharaoh Khufu's mother, and he had her buried near his own Great Pyramid with only the best objects, including a gorgeous set of jars to hold her mummified organs. However, these jars didn't have fancy shmancy lids like they would have in later times.
Dec 21, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019
The Four Sons appear as jars holding the viscera and also as gods wrapped like mummies, standing on the sides of a coffin (Imsety and Duamutef on the east or front of the coffin, and Hapy and Qebhsenuef on the west or back of the coffin). They are also associated with the cardinal directions around this time: Duamutef in the east, Qebhsenuef in the west, Imsety in the south, and Hapy in the north. Don't lead us astray, sons.
Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019
After being identical jars with flat lids and then jars with human heads and occasionally Anubis heads, suddenly the canopic jars get four different lids: one representing each of the Four Sons of Horus. This continues through Egyptian history. The guardian goddesses (Isis, Nephthys, Neith, and Serqet), who take care of the Four Sons, also start appearing in funeral furniture, like on the four edges of coffins and sarcophagi. It's a party up in there.
Dec 20, 1069 - Dec 20, 2019
Either because they were in a hurry, lazy, or preferred their new way of doing things, embalmers stopped taking the organs out of mummies. Instead, they mummified them, wrapped them in linen, and put them back in the body. Since the canopic jars were no longer needed, but nobody wanted to offend the Four Sons, they still put jars in the tomb—but these were fake jars that weren't even hollow. Ripoff!