Duamutef and Anubis: Jackal-Headed Deities in Ancient Egypt

Both Duamutef and Anubis are ancient Egyptian deities associated with the death and afterlife, but they have distinct roles and significances in the pantheon.

In the article below, WHE explores the major differences between Anubis and Duamutef:



Anubis is the god of mummification and the afterlife. He is associated with the embalming process and the protection of graves.

  1. Role and Significance: Anubis, often depicted as a man with the head of a jackal or as a full jackal, is one of the most recognizable gods of ancient Egypt. He is primarily known as the god of mummification and the afterlife.
  2. Functions:
    • Protector of Tombs: Anubis was considered the guardian and protector of tombs. He safeguarded them from grave robbers and ensured that the deceased rested undisturbed.
    • God of Mummification: Anubis oversaw the mummification process, ensuring the body was correctly embalmed and prepared for the afterlife.
    • Guide of Souls: He played a critical role in guiding the souls of the deceased through the challenges of the underworld, leading them to the Hall of Maat for judgment.
  3. Association: Anubis is often connected with the weighing of the heart ceremony, where the heart of the deceased was weighed against the feather of Ma’at (truth). While he didn’t make the judgment, he facilitated the process. A heart that does not balance in the scale of truth (i.e. the scale of Ma’at) was instantly gulped up by the fierce creature Ammit. It means the soul went extinct forever.

Anubis is responsible for weighing the heart of the deceased against the feather of Ma’at (truth) to determine the worthiness of the soul in the afterlife. Image: A section of the Papyrus of Ani showing the “weighing of the heart” ceremony. It depicts the jackal-headed god Anubis manipulating the scales, weighing the heart of the deceased against Ma’at’s feather of truth.


Duamutef, the jackal-headed funerary god was believed to align himself to the east.

  1. Role and Significance: Duamutef, one of the Four Sons of Horus, played a specific role in protecting the internal organs of the deceased. He’s lesser-known than Anubis but still vital within funerary practices.
  2. Functions:
    • Protector of the Stomach: Each of the Four Sons of Horus was responsible for guarding a specific organ placed in canopic jars during the mummification process. Duamutef’s responsibility was the stomach.
  3. Appearance: Duamutef is often depicted as a mummified man with the head of a jackal. The form connects him with the realm of the dead, similar to Anubis.
  4. Association: The Four Sons of Horus, including Duamutef, were associated with specific cardinal points. Duamutef represented the east. Moreover, he was protected by the goddess Neith.


While both Anubis and Duamutef have jackal associations and are connected to death rituals, their specific roles within the Egyptian religious framework are distinct.

Anubis holds a more overarching role in death, mummification, and the journey of the soul, while Duamutef has a specialized function related to the protection of the deceased’s stomach and its corresponding canopic jar.

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