Sandro Vannini’s Photography – The Canopic Chest

The Canopic Chest of King Tutankhamun, on display at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Image Credit - Sandro Vannini.The Canopic Chest of King Tut was recently featured in a video with Dr Janice Kamrin, as she walks around the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and explains what this beautiful artefact would have been used for (Skip to the video by clicking here). As one of the treasures of the Cairo Museum, it was photographed in stunning detail by the established Egyptology photographer Sandro Vannini, and the images are bought to the Internet by Heritage Key.

Discovered in the Tomb of King Tutankhamun (KV62), it is one of several Egyptian alabaster artefacts that were found by famed explorer Howard Carter. Funded on his expeditions in theValley of the Kings by Lord Carnarvon, Carter stumbled upon the entrance of KV62 and would go on to excavate one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in history.

‘Canopic Chest’ 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.

See it for yourself in King Tut Virtual

But it doesn’t stop there, as you can also visit King Tut Virtual and see digital recreations of many of the famous artefacts from KV62, walk through the Valley of the Kings, explore the banks of the River Nile in Ancient Egyptian times and even see more of Sandro Vannini’s photography in the virtual gallery.

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. Sandro will at the British Museum, London together with Dr. Zahi Hawass on December 8th to promote the new art photography book ‘A Secret Voyage’!

Don’t miss out on new treasures!

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:

Ask Sandro

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!

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 Canopic Chest

The Canopic Chest was used as part of the mummification process (You can learn more about mummification by watching this video with Dr Zahi Hawass) whereby vital organs would be removed from the deceased and placed for preservation in the Canopic Jar.The vital organs (known as viscera) were seperately stored inside four jars – the liver, stomach, intestines and lungs each being prepared for the afterlife.

The Ancient Egyptians considered the heart to be the person’s soul, and it was therefore left inside the body so in the afterlife it could be weighed against the Feather of Ma’at, as described in the Book of the Dead. Overseen by the god Anubis, if the heart was heavier from sins than the feather, it was be devoured by the beast Ammit, and the soul would forever be gone. A heart lighter than the feather would successfully pass onto the afterlife.

When it was discovered, the Canopic Shrine had no bottom to it, but instead contained the Canopic Chest, carved from a single block of calcite. The interior of the chest has markings to divide the space into four sections – one for each jar – and has hollow grooves carved into the base.

The shape of the Canopic Shrine, when complete with its lid, reflects the same shape of the Outer Shrine and canopy. Each corner of the shrine is also carved with the same four protecting goddesses who also appear on the Canopic Chest that it was housed within.

The facial features of the human headed stoppers are not thought to match the face of King Tutankhamun, and it’s possible that the Canopic Chest was never originally intended for the Boy King. Some archaeologists have hypothesised that it was actually created for Tut’s predecessor Ankhkheperure, although it is unclear how it ended up in KV62.

HDVideo:Tutankhamun’s Burial Treasures: The Canopic Shrine, Chest and Jars

(Read the transcript on the video page)

You can watch more fantastic videos on Heritage Key’s Video Page including Zahi Hawasss insights into the death of King Tut, as well as Kathleen Martinezs hunt for the tomb of Cleopatra. Additionally, you can find out more about Ancient Egypt on Heritage Key, as well as being able to explore the Valley of the Kings and the fascinating 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.