When I noticed the canopic jar topper/stopper sitting on the floor in the original break-in footage from the Cairo museum, I wondered whether any of the jars or stoppers were broken or stolen. They haven’t appeared on any list of damaged or stolen items, but since my curiosity was piqued, I’ve been keeping an eye on information about them. So I’m here on a Friday night, looking through any photos I can find of Thuya’s canopic jars.
Caveats: I have no evidence to suggest that any of Thuya’s canopic jars have been damaged or stolen and am not suggesting that they have; I’m wondering how they may have been displayed (since it seems that they were disturbed during the break-in).
I also have no conclusions for you. I have not been able to find a photograph of the jars on display that is more recent than 2008, so I cannot determine what the display looked like just prior to the break-in this year.
I’m trying to find someone that has seen the display for the canopic jars of Thuya recently. Meanwhile, I’m comparing the photos I have been able to find and noticing the fluidity of the display of these jars…I apologize for the poor image quality of the photos.
- All Four Canopic Jars of Thuya
For convenience (since I cannot see the Cairo JE identification numbers on the jars and do not currently have access to the original publication of the tomb’s contents), I’ll refer to these, from left to right in the above photo, as “1,” “2,” “3,” and “4.”
In the photo below, taken in the Cairo museum (on flickr, dated to January, 30, 2008, although I know that does not guarantee that that is the actual date the photo was was taken), you can see jar “1” (recognizable by the oval patterns of the calcite/alabaster). It seems to be in a display case with one jar stopper in front of it (apparently the one that is visibly displaced in the footage from after the break-in), but the photo does not show what else may have been in the case.
In a photo from flickr dated to July 29, 2008, however, you can see the jars displayed with the canopic chest that held them–“1,” is in the bottom-left of the photo, with a different stopper next to it, “3,” is in the upper-right (recognizable by the wavy pattern of the calcite underneath the text, and by the dark smudge above the text, to the viewer’s left), and “4” is in the bottom-right (recognizable by the distinct line and dot marks above the text).
“2” is not pictured, and there doesn’t quite seem to be room for it to be in the case without appearing in the photograph, though the angle of the photograph makes it hard to tell for sure.
In the most recent footage of these canopic jars, there is a different arrangement.
You can see “2” on the left, “1” in the middle, and “3” on the right.
“4” is not pictured, and the canopic chest is not with the jars in this display.
It’s a bit hard to tell in these photos, but the arrangement of the jar stoppers is also different; this most recent arrangement of jars and stoppers appears to be the same as that seen on the Eternal Egypt website, but differs from the arrangement when they were displayed with the canopic chest.
Apparently the arrangement of the jars and stoppers in the museum displays is relatively fluid, and the stoppers are not consistently displayed with the same jars. Without more photographic or eyewitness evidence, I cannot determine how the jars were arranged at the time of the break-in. If you have any such evidence, please let me know; curiosity killed the cat.