Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Relief Depicting Meryneith Inspecting His Stables and Ships Unloading Merchandise, from his tomb at Saqqara

New Kingdom, Amarna Period - post-Amarna Period
Dynasty 18
reigns of Akhenaten–Tutankhamun
ca. 1349–1327 BC
From Egypt, Memphite Region, Memphite Necropolis, Tomb of Meryneith
h. 31.8 (12 1/2); w. 132 cm (51 15/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1921
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 121
This block depicts a view over a stable yard and a harbor. In the upper right corner a figure who is certainly the tomb owner reviews the scene, followed by three men who are probably account-scribes, and a man with a stick. The stableyard includes a stable at the far left where a man hand feeds three very fat oxen who are tethered to a stone, and a yard where other tethered oxen are fed. In the harbor cargo boats still under sail or docked bring a delivery of what appears to be sheaves of grain and grain.

Work by the Leiden Museum / Leiden University joint expedition to the Memphite necropolis Saqqara in 2001 revealed the lost tomb of Meryneith, or Meryre as he is also known, and showed that this block joins another in Berlin and both appear to belong to the upper part of a wall in that tomb whose lower part depicts a granary and deliveries to a granary. The excavators have published a line drawing of the reconstructed scene, which is also included here. The tomb had been known in the nineteenth century but then its location was lost to scholarship.

Meryneith began his tomb in the Saqqara Necropolis in the reign of Akhenaten and finished it during the reign of Tutankhamun. He thus served over the course of the Amarna Period and into the ensuing reign. This block belongs to a part of the tomb the excavators have attributed to just the time Akhenaten adopted his name, year 5 of that king's reign.

It seems that Meryneith changed his name to Meryre at a point during the Amarna Period and changed it back to Meryneith after that Period ended. During the Amarna Period Meryneith / Meryre attained the title High Priest of the Aten, and so he might be the same as the High Priest of the Aten Meryre at Amarna, though the title could refer to the Memphis Temple of the Aten.
Purchased in Cairo from Khaouam Brothers, 1921. Rediscovery of the Tomb of Meryneith at Saqqara in 2001 by Maarten Raven has revealed that the relief originally came from that tomb.

Raven, Maarten J. and René van Walsem 2014. The Tomb of Meryneith at Saqqara. Turnhout, pp. 101-104.

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