Sandro Vannini’s Photography – Anubis Shrine and “Anubis Fetishes”

The "Anubis Fetishes" from the Tomb of King Tutankhamun (KV62) is one of many artefacts discovered by Howard Carter. Image Copyright - Sandro Vannini.Anubis is the jackal-headed god for the afterlife and mummification, who is seen as a key figure for a Pharaoh to pass into the afterlife. The jackal was associated with associated with death and burials in Ancient Egyptian time for their reputation of scavenging human corpses and eating their flesh. It was common practice to place a figure of Anubis near the entrance of a tomb, and for the priest to don an Anubis mask during the embalming process. This is also one of the reasons the Anubis was selected to sail into New York’s harbour to promote the upcoming King Tut exhibit!

The Anubis Shrine and “Anubis Fetishes” are two artefacts found inside King Tut’s tomb which honour the god, and are now held in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo where they have been photographed by Sandro Vannini. Brought online by Heritage Key, the beautiful details of both these fine artefacts can be appreciated from the comfort of your own computer! You can also see the “Anubis Fetishes” are other stunning artefacts from KV62 in 3D by logging into King Tut Virtual.

‘Anubis’ Slideshow

Heritage Key is working with Sandro and bringing his extensive catalogue of beautiful photography of Egyptian antiquities onto the world wide web, which we’re sure will fascinate even the most hardcore Egyptologist! To watch a slideshow of the Canopic Chest, simply click any of the thumbnails below.

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This post is part of a series focussing on amazing photographs from ancient Egypt. Keep checking back as well keep adding new images by Sandro Vannini. To make sure you don’t miss out on any of the updates, simply subscribe by email to receive notifications when new images are uploaded. For the more digitally advanced, there’s also an RSS feed with updates available.

See More Amazing Photography by Sandro

Have a look at some of the other stunning photographs by Sandro Vannini here at Heritage Key:

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We’ll be sitting down with our favourite photographer for an extended chat soon, so if you have any questions for Sandro we’ll send the answers straight to you!

Sandro Vannini’s Photography

Over a decade of experience in photographing the magnificent artefacts and tombs of Egypt has honed the skills of Sandro, and given him the experience required to capture the beautiful details of the Canopic Chest. The equipment used to take the amazing photographs is obviously important too, and Sandro used a Hasselblad ELD Ixpress 528C camera to take these images. You can also see more of Sandro’s fantastic photography in his new book with the Director of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr Zahi Hawass, “The Lost Tombs of Thebes:Life in Paradise” as well as reading about Sandro’s experiences of shooting the photographs in Thebes on Heritage Key, and watching the video about the Lost Tombs of Thebes featuring Dr Zahi Hawass and Dr Janice Kamrin.

But for those of you who cant make the trip to the Cairo Museum to see the Canopic Chest, Heritage Key offers these stunning photographs by Sandro Vannini which capture the stunning Canopic Chest from the Tomb of King Tutankhamun. But there’s more: you can visit virtual replicas of Tutankhamun treasures in the Heritage Key VX King Tut exhibition, which features a virtual replica of many other breath-taking artefacts such as the Golden Mask of King Tutankhamun.

The Anubis Shrine and “Anubis Fetishes”

The Anubis Shrine is made of black-painted wood gessoed, with gilded details on the ears, collar and scarf. Silver is inset into the claws and its eyes are inlaid with calcite and obsidian. Embedded into the decor are alternating djed and tjet symbols, signifying Osiris and Isis. The Anubis sits upon an elaborate box shrine which sits on a sledge with four carrying poles.

The role of Anubis in the Book of the Dead was a crucial one, acting as the guide to the afterlife. Anubis played an essential role in the Weighing of the Heart ceremony, where the deceased would be judged and either allowed to pass into the afterlife or have their heart fed to the fearsome Ammut.

Also found inside the Tomb of King Tut were two emblems of Anubis, referred to as the “Anubis Fetishes”. Howard Carter discovered these two artefacts on each corner of the west side of the burial chamber, which was associated with death and the afterlife.

The fetish represents a headless animal skin which is suspended by its tail, and is wrapped around a pole with a calcite base. The base is inscribed with the cartouche of King Tutankhamun, and is referred to as being the beloved of Anubis “who is in the divine booth” on the left feitsh, and “who is in the bandages” in the right fetish.

At the top of both fetishes are a carved lotus bud, which mirrors the end of the animal tails, which end in a blossoming papyrus flower. The animal skins are made from gilded wood with bronze tails, and the concept is based on actual animal skins stuffed with linen.

In the Tomb of King Tutankhamun (KV62), the Anubis Shrine guarded the Treasury, and indeed would be wrongly used as evidence of a curse. Although Dr Zahi Hawass talks about the alleged curse of King Tutankhamun (Watch the Video), the actual translation of the brick found on the floor in front of the Anubis Shrine read “It is I who hinders the sand from choking the secret chamber. I cause the path to be mistaken. I am for the protection of the deceased.” Despite Lord Carnarvon’s death just 6 months after the opening of King Tut’s tomb (Watch the Video), many of the party which originally entered the tomb went on to live long lives.

HD Video: Animal Iconography of Tutankhamun’s Burial Treasures

(Read the transcript on the video page)

You can look at the Heritage Keys video page for all our videos to date and see more archaeologists working in Ancient Egypt. Additionally, you can find out more about Ancient Egypt here at Heritage Key, and if you want to do some discovery of your own, you can explore KV62 – King Tutankhamun’s tomb – in 3D in our exciting virtual experience! Also be sure to keep up to date on all new postings about Sandro’s photography from Egypt by subscribing to our feed, simply by entering your email address above.