Worshipped widely throughout all of Egypt, his cult
center was Cynopolis.
Other Names: Anpu, Inpu, Ienpw, Imeut
mummification, and the dead on their path through the underworld.He is depicted as a man with the head of a jackal-like animal. Unlike a real
jackal, Anubis' head is black, representing his position as a god of the dead.
As we all know the true color of a jackal is far from being black. I believe the
main reason Anubis was painted black was to further link him with the deceased.
Once a body that has been embalmed it becomes a pitch black colour. Black was
also the colour of fertility, consequently associating death and rebirth in the
Anubis is one of
the ancient of all gods. The oldest mastabas of the Old Kingdom have prayers to
him carved into their walls, and he is mentioned in the Pyramid Texts in his
most celebrated role as a guardian and protector of the dead. A standard
offering formula for the dead in the Old Kingdom began thusly:
"An offering which the king gives and Anubis, who is
upon his mountain and in the place of embalming, the lord of the necropolis...."
Originally, in the Ogdoad system, he was god of the underworld. His consort, Anput who was depicted exactly the same,
Their daughter was Kebechet (Kabechet, Kebechet,
Kebehut, Kebhut), who was depicted as a snake or ostrich carrying water. She was
the goddess of freshness and purification through water who washed the entrails
of the deceased and brought the sacred water to Anubis for his tasks. She was
thought to give water to the spirits of the dead while they waited for the
mummification process to be complete. She was more than likely related to
mummification where she would fortify the body against corruption, so it would
stay fresh for reanimation by the deceased's ka. Other than that very little is written about
It is not known for
certain who his parents were. Some say he is the Sun of Ra and Nephthys. Others
say his mother was Heset. I like to think the latter. Some of the legends I have
read say that. Nephthys got Osiris drunk and the resultant seduction brought
forth Anubis. Yet another says she disguised herself as Isis and seduced Osiris
and subsequently gave birth to Anubis.
He was originally the god of the dead, before he,
Nephthys and Isis helped Osiris gain the rank around the Middle Kingdom era.
Anubis then acquired the position and responsibility to escort newly-deceased
souls to the afterlife, Anubis is now what
they call a psychopomp. Creatures such as Anubis, were often depicted on
funerary art, and have been associated at different times and in different
cultures with horses, whippoorwills, ravens, dogs, crows, owls, sparrows,
cuckoos, harts, and dolphins. The word comes from the Greeks, literally meaning the "guide of souls". The likely
reason the ancient Egyptians adopted the character of the jackal is more than
likely due to the fact that the jackal is a nocturnal animal that is known to
hunt near the edges of the desert, near the necropolis and cemeteries throughout
His functions are many. Devotions, appeals and
prayers are seen in tombs and temples. He takes his job quite seriously while
watching over the mummification ritual, along with his daughter, Kabechet, who helps
him in the mummification, making sure everything is up to his standards. Anubis
is the embalmer who washes the entrails of the dead and guards over their
physical bodies as well as the places that house them. Priests wearing a mask of
Anubis were responsible for the Opening of the Mouth ceremony that reawakened a
dead person's senses.
Figure of Anubis
recumbent figure of a jackal represents the god Anubis. Slightly more than three
feet long, it crouched protectively near the entrance to the Treasury. Carved of
wood that has been covered with a black resin, the life-size statue has gilded
ears, collar and scarf. His nails are made of silver, the eyebrow and cosmetic
line are gilded metal, and the eye is calcite and obsidian. The base upon which
he rests, composed of carved and gilded wood, takes the shape of a shrine. Each
side contains a central pattern bordered on three sides by an inscription.
Symbols of the gods Isis and Osiris occur in some of the panels. The shrine is
actually a compartmentalized chest which contained among other things, eight
large pendants. Under the base was a sledge with four carrying poles.
statue was originally covered with a thin shawl and scarf, and around his neck
was a floral garland. Over the figure was fringed linen that bore an inscription
dated the seventh year of Akhenaton's reign.
was the god of embalming, and, although in the earliest times he was the primary
god of the Underworld, he is eventually replaced in that role by Osiris. At the
judgment of the dead, Anubis is the "master of the balance", the scale which
weighs the heart of the deceased against the feather of Maat. If the pans do not
tilt, the deceased would be brought before the god of the Underworld, Osiris,
having been judged "true of voice". The hearts of those who did not pass the
test were devoured by a mythical beast
said that Anubis was the creator who pioneered the process of mummification. In
the legend Isis appeals to her sister Nephthys, Mistress of the House and wife
of Set, for help in guiding her to find the strewn pieces of Osiris. Loyal to
her sister Isis, they set out for the long journey. As days turn into weeks and
weeks into months and months into years, they bring each piece they find to
Thoth. Once all the pieces were found, Thoth brings the body parts to Anubis,
where he sews Osiris' body members back in place. He washes Osiris' entrails,
then embalms the body, wraps him up in linen that the had woven and finally
casts the spell of the Ritual of Life. As Osiris' mouth opens, his akh re enters
and Osiris lives once more.
The preliminary stages of mummification involved
the opening, which in many countries even today is considered a violation of the
body. This was an action that only Anubis himself would have been allowed to
perform. The priest who took on this role was called the 'Overseer of the
Mysteries' . It was thought that he would be magically become the funerary god
himself and so be able to legitimately cut open the corpse for the mummification
process. These men were of a distinguished part of the priesthood. They were
solely responsible for the mummification process and to lead the commemoration.
They were experienced, accomplished professionals who's skills were passed from
one generation to the next. They were responsible for hiring others who made
caskets, funerary objects, painters, sculptors etc. However; the cutter was the
lowliest in society. Being the one who does the dissecting and removing the
internal organs there were certain health risks that were considered impure.
This group could have included convicts. The priests were also responsible as
part of the daily ritual, of purifying the temple deity. Using incense to purify
the air, the deity was lifted out of his or her shrine, was washed, anointed
with oils, dressed in white, green, red and blue cloths and fed.
As he guides the new souls through the
underworld, he tests their faith and their knowledge of the gods. As he brings
them to the Scales of Justice during the ceremony of the Judging of the Heart,
he places their hearts on the scale on which their hearts are measured against
the feather of Ma'at. Should the heart be light as the feather, the soul would
then be lead by Anubis to be presented to Osiris. Should the heart be heavy, it
is fed to Ammit and the soul destroyed.
judgement of the dead in the presence of Osiris
is an excellent example of one of the many fine vignettes (illustrations) from
the Book of the Dead of
The scene reads from left to right. To the left,
"Anubis brings Hunefer into the judgement area. Anubis is also shown supervizing
the judgement scales. Hunefer's heart, represented as a pot, is being weighed
against a feather, the symbol of "Maat, the established order of things, in this
context meaning 'what is right'. The ancient Egyptians believed that the heart
was the seat of the emotions, the intellect and the character, and thus
represented the good or bad aspects of a person's life. If the heart did not
balance with the feather, then the dead person was condemned to non-existence,
and consumption by the ferocious 'devourer', the strange beast shown here which
is part-crocodile, part-lion, and part-hippopotamus.
However, as a papyrus devoted to ensuring
Hunefer's continued existence in the Afterlife is not likely to depict this
outcome, he is shown to the right, brought into the presence of Osiris by his
son Horus, having become 'true of voice' or 'justified'. This was a standard
epithet applied to dead individuals in their texts. Osiris is shown seated under
a canopy, with his sisters "Nephthys. At the top, Hunefer is shown adoring a row
of deities who supervise the judgement.
merging of the Ennead and Ogdoad belief
systems, as a result of the identification of Atum with Ra, and their
compatibility, Anubis became a lesser god in the underworld, giving way to the
more popular Osiris sometime during the Middle Kingdom era. However, "Anubis was
given a place in the family of gods as the...son of Osiris and Nephthys, and in
this role he helped Isis mummify his dead father." . I thought this was quite
interesting while doing research; when the Myth of Osiris and Isis emerged, it
was said that when Osiris had died, Osiris' organs were given to Anubis as a
gift. With this connection, Anubis became the patron god of embalmers: during
the funerary rites of mummification, illustrations from the Book of the
Dead often show a priest wearing the jackal
mask supporting the upright mummy.
is an excellent example of one of the many fine vignettes (illustrations) from
the Book of the Dead of
The centrepiece of the upper scene is the mummy of Hunefer, shown
supported by the god "Anubis (or a priest wearing a jackal mask). Hunefer's wife
and daughter mourn, and three priests perform rituals. The two priests with
white sashes are carrying out the Opening of the Mouth ritual. The white
building at the right is a representation of the tomb, complete with portal
doorway and small pyramid. Both these features can be seen in real tombs of this
date from Thebes. To the left of the tomb is a picture of the stela which would
have stood to one side of the tomb entrance. Following the normal conventions of
Egyptian art, it is shown much larger than normal size, in order that its
content (the deceased worshiping "Osiris, together with a standard offering
formula) is absolutely legible.
At the right of the lower scene is a table bearing the various
implements needed for the Opening of the Mouth ritual. At the left is shown a
ritual, where the foreleg of a calf, cut off while the animal is alive, is
offered. The animal was then sacrificed. The calf is shown together with its
mother, who might be interpreted as showing signs of
As protector of the necropolis, Anubis was known
as 'He Who is Upon the Mountain'. The Egyptians believed that the god would keep
watch over the tombs and graves from a high vantage point in the desert, ready
to rush down to protect the deceased from desecration. Images of Anubis as a
seated jackal above nine prisoners were stamped on many of the seals to tombs in
the Valley of the Kings. They symbolise Anubis' protection against thieves and
evil doers who entered the necropolis. He protected not only the souls of the dead,
but their eternal resting place, too.
and fog Backgrounds from
and Horus found in several places on Photobucket
Tour Egypt, Caroline Seawright, Wikipedia