Statue of Maya and Merit

In 1986, during excavations in Saqqara by the Egypt Exploration Society and the RMO, the tomb of Maya and Merit was rediscovered. Maya was a high-ranking official in the Egypt of Tutankhamun and Horemheb. It is possible that he already embarked upon his career during the reign of Akhenaten. He served as Director of the Treasury, and he could therefore be described as the Minister of Home Affairs and of the Treasury. Maya organised the construction of Tutankhamun’s tomb. He had his own tomb built next to that of general Horemheb. Later, in the time of Ramses II, another tomb was inserted in between these two: that of the treasury director Tia.

Maya’s tomb

Maya’s tomb exemplifies a common design: the visitor passes through a high gate or ‘pylon’ into an inner court with three large, roofed rooms. This leads to a second inner court with three chapels. In the centre of the second court is a deep shaft; through a system of passages, a second shaft, and a spiral staircase one reaches three decorated rooms, at a depth of 22 metres. These rooms once contained the mummies of Maya and his wife Merit.

The statue

This statue depicts Maya and Merit as recipients of food. The figures therefore represent the life principle or ‘ka’ of these individuals. They are dressed in their finest clothes. We can clearly see that the statue was once painted, but the white of the clothes has turned a yellowish colour.


Museum number: AST 3Dimensions: height: 1.58 metre
Material: limestone
Period: c. 1320 B.C
Findspot: Saqqara

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