ANUBIS ZOOMORPHIC FIGURINES
S u m m a r y
Anubis was the chief god of the dead as the Passageway and Afterlife. The jackal-god was believed
to have wrapped the body of the deceased Osiris, thus establishing his particular association
with the mummification process. In the beginning, Anubis as a mortuary god, was chiefly associated
with the king, later he became the god of every mortal. In the Judgment of the Dead Anubis
appears to act for Osiris, with whom he is intimately connected, as his duty it is to examine the
tongue of the Great Balance and making sure the beam is placed in a horizontal position. Anubis
was the guardian of the dead, who took souls to the Underworld and protected them on their journey.
The nature of Anubis is best revealed by the epithets: Foremost of the Westerners’, Presiding
over the god’s pavilion, Lord of the Sacred Land, Who is Upon His Mountain, Master of Secrets,
He who is in the Place of Embalming.
This article is a part of M.A. thesis and all zoomorphic figurines of Anubis, collected by the
author, are presented in the dissertation catalogue. Altogether, there are 106 figurines/fragments.
The oldest reliable zoomorphic figurine of Anubis, in a recumbent position, are two fragments
(greenish basalt) found in the debris on the floor of Room (III) of the Valley Temple of King
Menkaura (IV Dynasty) (Fig. 1).
The statuettes were made of wood, stone and sometimes of metal (Fig. 2). They comprised
a part of larger objects such as coffins (Fig. 3), canopic chests (Fig. 4) and shrines (Fig. 13), sometimes
other items like embalmer’s knife (Fig. 9). The most widely known and deftly executed
image of Anubis is the powerful recumbent statue placed on top of a gilded shrine in the tomb of
Tutankhamun (KV 62) (Fig. 13, 14).
Figurines are usually painted black. The black coat of Anubis in certainly not its true nature
but has symbolic significance. It relates to the colour of putrefying corpses and the fertile black
soil of the Nile Valley. This leads on to the idea of rebirth in the Underworld. There are three
different types of posture of zoomorphic Anubis. Type A – the recumbent position. This Type is
connected with all periods of ancient Egypt. Figurines in this type could have a diverse form of
tail. To differentiate them, the author distinguished three subtypes: A1, A2, A3. Subtype A1 – the
straight tail is hanging (Fig. 3, 4, 5, 13). A2 – the tail is turned to one side (Fig. 6). A3 – statuettes
with horizontally formed tail (Fig. 7, 9). The second posture of Anubis – Type B – is a standing
position (Fig. 11), but it is not as popular as in Type A. Figurines of Type B are dated to the Late
Period and Ptolemaic Period. In my opinion these items could stand at houses (domestic hearth –
Greek influences) and after the death of a particular person, the figure was placed in the tomb or
mortuary temple. Placing these figurines in houses does not rule out their sepulchral functions.
Type C – figurines of Anubis in a sitting position (Fig. 12), very rarely occurred. It is connected