Skip Navigation


Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Funerary Gallery 2, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
This sleek wooden statue of the jackal god Anubis wearing a red ribbon around his neck depicts him guarding the necropolis, one of his commonest roles. The Egyptians knew that jackals inhabited the desert edge, where cemeteries were located.

The pose Anubis takes here represents the god perched on his sacred mountain above the necropolis, with his tail drooping downward. This is the same form of Anubis addressed in the standard funerary prayer that Egyptian priests recited for the deceased.
MEDIUM Wood, pigment
  • Reportedly From: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES 664-30 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 26, or later
    PERIOD Late Period to Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 26 x 20 x 3 1/2 in. (66 x 50.8 x 8.9 cm)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 37.1478Ea-b
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Wooden figure of Anubis (a). He is represented recumbent with his tail (b) hanging down behind him. The figure was made of six pieces of wood fastened together with dowels and animal glue. The piece was probably made to rest upon the top of a sarcophagus. Condition: The face is composed of two separate wooden pieces glued together (one side now lost). These were attached to the rest of the heads via dowels. The neck, once a separate piece, has now been replaced (since it had been lost). A large horizontal crack runs from shoulder to haunches along the left side of the figure. Overall, black paint and red paint of hunting collar are well preserved. Tail (separate) but attached via wax, is well preserved.
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.