Serving Art Educators
and Students Since 1994
Submitted by: Lauren McGreal, Victoria Fertitta Middle School in Las Vegas, NV
Unit: Egyptian Art - Sculpture
Lesson Plan: Canopic Jars
Grade Level: Elementary (grades 4 through 6)
Alternate Lesson: Detroit Institute of the Art - Canopic Jars
After a brief lesson about Egyptian art, hieroglyphics, and ancient religion, begin talking about the Sons of Horus. Explain that there was a group of four gods in the Egyptian religion. They believed that the sons of Horus helped their king go to heaven using ladders.
The names of the sons of Horus were Imsety, Duamutef, Hapi and Qebehsenuef. Three of them were in the shape of animals. Egyptians used these gods in burial. They made them in the shapes of jars and buried them with the mummies. They created jars in the shape of the sons of Horus and they would contain parts of the body while they prepared the body for burial.
Have the students pick one of the four Sons of Horus to recreate. Make the heads out of newspaper and tape on top of the lid. Another option is paper maché mix that you can form with your hands. After the heads are finished and securely fastened to the lids, students then begin paper macheing the outside of the Pringle's cans with newspaper strips. When finished, students paint the entire can and head. They may use markers or paints to paint hieroglyphics on the outside of the cans. Students who finish early can do a second Son of Horus.
Alternate: Use baby food jars | Use "Whisker Lickin's" plastic containers.
You need a Pringles can for each student. Take the lids off and put aside. Prepare Paper Mache mix in a bowl for each table. Students (or teacher ahead of time) should cut strips of newspapers to put on the outside of the Pringles cans while using wheat paste or flour for creating and attaching the heads on the Pringles can lids. Have students paper mache the can being careful not to seal the head on.
Make any kind of animal head that has personal meaning to the students.
Canopic Jars - Detroit Institute of the Arts - Canopic Jars - Canopic Chest and Jars - Tuts
Splendors of Egypt - Artifacts - Canopic jars (commercial site - but some nice images)
National Gallery of Art - Quest for Immortality - Student writing on mummification (Archive)
The Art of Ancient Egypt - This free online book is excellent and will give you many resources on Egypt and its art and culture.
Egyptian gods & goddesses - Grade 1-3: This beginning reader opens with a brief lineup of gods and goddesses including Horus, Re, Thoth, Montu, Osiris, Isis, and Anubis and then goes into an account of the Egyptians' fascination with death and the afterlife. Readers find out why pyramids and mummies were so important, and how bodies were prepared for their trip to the Underworld.
The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt - Catalogue of gods and goddesses supplemented by examinations of the history of Egyptian religion, the rise and fall of the gods, and the ways in which they were worshiped.
Egyptian Divinities: The All Who Are One - The book details over 80 divinities (gods, goddesses), how they act and interact to maintain the universe, and how they operate in the Egyptian religion.
Ancient Egyptian Canopic Jar Shrine - Ancient Egyptian Canopic Shrine Trinket Jewelry Box. This canopic shrine box measures approximately 6 by 3.5 by 3.5 inches, made of cold cast resin and is hand painted.