Texas Chapter

Painted Wooden Statuette of the God Anubi

This restoration was generously sponsored by Joe Pacetti.

Anubi, whose name in hieroglyphics is translated more precisely as Anpu – Inepu (he who has a head of a jackal). With roots in the 17th century BC, Anubi represents in egyptian mythology the god of Death and-or Hell. His mother is at times considered to be Hesat married to an unkown father. Other times his mother is Nefti and his mother Set, Ra or Osiris. Anubi was translated into the god Hermes in greek mythology and his worship was centered in Cinopoli.

Anubi was depicted as a jackal or some kind of dog. The connection with death is obvious, given that the jackal often fed off carcasses. In iconography, he is presented as a man with a canine head and large ears, long nose and a whip. This vision of the afterlife is quite different than that of the Jewish people who lived along side the Egyptians.

The wooden statuette of Anubi which you have helped restore dates back to the 1450-1000 a.C. Statuettes like these, made of wood or carved in stone, were found in the west area of the ancient Egyptian city of city of Tebe (located close to the cities of Karnak and Luxor). They were used in occasion of the religious and or funerary processions by placing them along the route.

The Egyptians believed that Anubi led the defunct to Osiris where the dead person would celebrate the rite of the “weight of the soul”. In fact, the Egyptians believed that in the afterlife, the heart of the defunct was weighed on a scale. This rite took place in front of the god of the dead Osiris, where the defunct declared that he had not committed any bad actions. If the heart was as light as the feather of truth then the defunct was destined to eternal life, otherwise he was destined to be swallowed by a ferocious monster.


The very first step of the restoration consisted in an careful cleaning of the wood statuette followed by consolidation of the whole surface. The Statuette of Anubi is composed by five different parts: the body, the back posterior right leg, the head, the nose and the tail. Scientific analysis revealed that under the black of the surface there are two different layers of colors: a pink and a white layer. These two different layers served as a base for the final black varnish.

The accurate study if this statuette shows that the artist took care of the details: depicted in yellow ribs, eyes, ears and a red collar which was placed around the neck of the dog. Unfortunately, part of the collar was damaged. After the stuccoing of the missing parts, the restorers touched-up the pictorial surfaces where needed and proceeded with photographic documentation as requested.

This pretty wooden statue of Anubi will soon be located on display in the Gregorian Egyptian Museum in order for all the visitors to enjoy its beauty!

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