"A small Egyptian canopic jar was the first"
Canopic Jars of Neskhons, wife of Pinedjem II. - Credit: Captmondo
were used by the Ancient Egyptians during the mummification process to store and preserve the viscera of their owner for the afterlife. They were commonly either carved from lime stone or were made of pottery. All the viscera were not kept in a single canopic jar, but rather each organ was placed in a jar of its own. The jars were four in number, each charged with the safekeeping of particular human organs: the stomach, intestines, lungs, and liver. The canopic jars were placed inside a canopic chest and buried in tombs together with the sarcophagus of the dead. It was believed that the dead person would need their organs to help them through the after life. The Egyptians considered the heart to be the seat of the soul so it was left inside the body instead of being placed in a canopic jar. Sometimes the covers of the jars were modeled after (or painted to resemble) the head of Anubis, the god of death/embalming.