Ancient Egyptian canopic jars achieve $42,500 at auction

A set of four ancient Egyptian limestone canopic jars have sold for $42,500 at Ancient Resource in Glendale, California.

canopic jars Egyptian antique
The canopic jars display the heads of the four sons of Horus

The jars are sculpted into the visages of the four sons of Horus, one of the most significant gods in the Egyptian pantheon, and date to the late period of the 26th-30th dynasty (664-343 BC).

They would have been brightly painted, and although most of the paint has weathered away, some of the pigment around the eyes and face is retained.

The four sons are the traditional protectors of the organs of the dead and began to appear on canopic jars and other funerary material from the time of the Middle Kingdom (2050-1650 BC) onward.

A mummified hand purportedly belonging to Cleopatra, "daughter of Ptolemy Auletes", made $13,000 at the March 1 auction.

Cleopatra hand Ancient Resource
It is unlikely the hand belonged to Cleopatra

It was previously included in the collection of the British General Bowser, who acquired it on a visit to Egypt in 1794. It is presented in a mahogany case along with a range of literature from the period concerning its provenance.

Allegedly the general discovered the hand while visiting a tomb that was undergoing excavation and bore an inscription identifying it as Cleopatra's resting place.

This seems unlikely as to date, the tomb remains undiscovered despite centuries of searching.

Despite this, the lot is in a superb state of preservation and its long and colourful back-story ensures it remains an interesting piece.

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