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Hes Vase with Cover

Vessels used in purification rites are commonly found in ancient Egyptian tombs. As texts and vignettes indicate, the Egyptians believed that the deceased needed to be in a ritually pure state in order to move about in the hereafter.

This vessel is in the shape of the hieroglyph hes, which can mean either "a favored one," a common epithet for the dead, or "repulse" and "turn away." The vessel itself thus functioned magically to protect its owner. A number of similar vessels were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun.

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