Statue of Meryre and his wife Iniuia

High Priest of Aten and High Priest of the Temple of Neith. Private statuary in this period was very rare, so this statue is considered especially valuable.

Painted limestone statue of Meryre, and his wife Iniuia. Wearing two rows of gold beads presented by the King. Meryneith started his career under king Akhenaten as Steward of the Temple of Aten and Scribe of the Temple of Aten in Akhetaten and in Memphis. The latter title might imply that he worked for a while in Akhenaten’s new capital at Amarna. After the King’s death, he continued work at his Saqqara tomb under the new ruler Tutankhamun.

Statue of Meryre and his wife Iniuia
Statue of Meryre and his wife Iniuia

He was now Greatest of Seers (i.e. high priest) of the Aten and High Priest of the Temple of Neith. The inscriptions in his tomb make clear that he changed his name from Meryneith to Meryre (and back again) in order to adjust to the prevailing political climate. This intact statue of the tomb owner and his wife Iniuia (or Anuy) was still fixed to the floor in its original location in the south-western chapel of the tomb. The statue differs from other contemporary examples by a number of details.

Note for instance how Iniuia’s hair has been thrown over the shoulder in an asymmetrical way. Rare is also her very long garment which partly covers the feet.The text on the deceased’s kilt gives his name as ‘Meryre’ and his title as ‘scribe of the temple of Aten in Akhetaten (and) in Memphis.’ This would date the statue after the founding of Akhenaten’s new capital in year 5, and might indicate that Meryre performed part of his offices there. Private statuary in this period was very rare, so this statue is considered especially valuable.

New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, Amarna Period, reign of Akhenaten, ca. 1553-1336 BC. From Saqqara. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 99076

Leave a Reply