The Anubis Mask

In this episode, we’ll be visiting an original Anubis Mask from the Ancient Egyptian late period, at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Welcome to Art, Culture & Books with me, Anthony King.

Over 2000 years ago, a mask representing Anubis, the jackal-headed ancient Egyptian god associated with embalming and the afterlife, was used by priests in funeral ceremonies, specifically the ‘Opening of the Mouth’ ritual. This ceremony involved touching the mummy’s mouth, eyes, nose, and ears to restore the senses. The mask, crafted from gilded wood and glass, originates from the New Kingdom and was discovered at the archaeological site in Armant.

In different contexts, Anubis, like many other ancient Egyptian deities, played varying roles. During the Middle Kingdom (2055–1650 BC), Osiris took over Anubis’s role as the lord of the underworld. Anubis was recognized for ushering souls into the afterlife, and he played a crucial role in the “Weighing of the Heart” ritual, where the fate of a soul was determined for entry into the realm of the dead.

By Anthony King (c)