Statue of the protective goddess Meretseger
This statue represents goddess Meretseger, one of the protective goddesses that were found in the tomb of king Amenhotep II (KV35) in the Valley of the Kings. They were responsible for protecting the body of the king in his afterlife journey. It represents Meretseger in the form of the winged cobra.
Meretseger, a cobra goddess dwelling on the mountain overlooks the Valley of the Kings in western Thebes. During the New Kingdom Meretseger had great authority over the whole Theban necropolis area. She can appear as a coiled cobra or as a cobra with a female head and an arm projecting from the front of the snake’s hood.
Her name translated as ‘she who loves silence’, aptly descriptive of a deity protecting secluded royal tombs. She was believed to live on the mountain which dominates the skyline at Thebes and rises above the valley of the Kings and Queens. The mountain (known as “dehent”) formed a natural pyramid, and the word for “pyramid” in Egyptian was “mr” which formed a pun on the first syllable of her name.
Her worship was popular in Thebes and Deir el-Medina (the workman’s village near the Valley of the Kings) during the New Kingdom and a small temple to Ptah and Meretseger was built near by. However, she was so closely associated with the necropolis at Thebes that her worship was never established elsewhere. When the royal necropolis was abandoned during the 21st Dynasty she drifted into obscurity.
New Kingdom, mid-18 Dynasty, reign of Amenhotep II, ca. 1427-1401 BC. Now in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), Cairo.