Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, December 18, 2010

Canopic Jar of Kiya (?)

The canopic jars in KV55 are important as they were orginally dedicated to Kiya and form part of the evidence that at least some funerary goods were relocated back from Amarna to the Valley of the Kings. This photo by Doris Pemler of the one in the Met is one of the finest shots I have ever seen. For anybody looking for photos for websites, it is also available under a Creative Commons licence - details if you follow the link through to Flickr. Of course we don't know whose organs are in the jars ... If you are interested in how the canopic jars from KV55 have been attributed, this paper by Cyril Aldred is worth reading.  In it he discussed how hair style has been used to identify the likely personages represented in various Amarnan objects.  (PS the identification with Kiya is disputed with some people suggesting they show Meritaten.)

5 comments:

John Bright said...

The stopper on the base heads are not a perfect match for the opening on the jars. This might suggest the heads do not belong to the bases.
The one that was displayed at the Tutankhamen Exhibition in Basel had a surprising amount of the original inscription surviving on the jar body.
It is often stated that a Uraeus was snapped off of each head but it might have been a twin gazelle head if they belonged originally to a lesser wife.
If the visceral packages are still in existence,does anyone know if they have they been tested to see whether they belong to the skeleton found in KV55?

Anonymous said...

At the San Francisco Exhibition the KV 55 Jar was displayed next to a wall, with the erasure to the wall. It was at an art museum, someone must have thought it looked "unsightly"...So nice to see it, good photo.

rymerster said...

This piece is incredible, I took some shots from different angles, which show how incredible the work was. What surprised me the most was the side view, how much it looks angular, like the Karnak Talatat of Nefertiti. I also took photos of a few other Amarna pieces which are not commonly seen.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rymerster

Marianne Luban said...

This is what James Allen thought about the erasure[s] in Kmt's "Amarna Letters": [Believing they had originally belonged to Kiya] "On the canopic jar the original inscription seems to have been altered twice. By comparison with other objects made for Kiya, it appears that the first alteration may have smoothed away the columns bearing her titles and name...and the second would have hacked out the remaining original cartouches of the Aten and Akhenaten. At some point a royal uraeus was added to the human-headed lid of each jar; the uraei were later snapped off at the base."

This seems reasonable to me as the KV55 coffin, itself, was altered from that of a woman to use for a king. But the names of the king had been erased or excised everywhere. All that remained to identify him was his unique epithet, "The perfect little one of the Aten". I did some investigation of the "prayer" at the foot of the coffin and my conclusion differed from that of Allen. He believed at the time of the writing of his article that this invocation had been altered by a male successor to Akhenaten. I saw signs that it had been altered to a dialogue between Akhenaten and a female successor, whereas orginally it had been from a royal lady, probably Kiya, to Akhenaten

John Bright said...

Here is a thought: given the location in KV55 where the jars were found when the tomb was discovered by the Davis funded excavations, it would seem they might originally have been stored in a chest elsewhere in the tomb. Given there is no surviving evidence for this, it has to be admitted it is conjecture. However, given everything else in the tomb had been shifted round and items removed (stolen in ancient times?), it is a possibility. As the jars are alabaster/calcite, this hypothetical chest would presumably have been made of wood, possibly gilded.

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