By Jacqueline Engel

Luxor, Queen’s Palace Northwest of the Rammesseum
New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty
Ramses II (c. 1279-1213 BC)
Painted limestone
Hurgada Museum

Queen Meritamun was one of the daughters of Rameses II who became his Great Royal Wife after the death of her mother, Nefertari.

This statue clearly displays the ancient Egyptian sculptor’s mastery of his craft. This is especially clear in the intricate tresses of her elaborate blue wig, and in the symmetry and attention to detail to the beads of her wide collar.

There are two cobras on her forehead. The one on the left is wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt, and the other the Red Crown of Lower Egypt.

They represent Nekhbet and Wadjet, the titular goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt respectively.

On her wig Meritamun is wearing a headdress whose base consist of Uraei, protective cobras with sun disks on their heads.

The Uraeus was a symbol af the power of the sun god.

Two tall feathers would have surmounted this base, but the top of the statue is unfortunately missing.

Meritamun holds a menat, a necklace that was closely associated with Hathor,the goddess of fertility, love and music.

It is composed of rows of beads with a counterpoise, which appropriately has the shape of Hathor, thus associating Meritamun with this goddess.

The name of Mentamun is not preserved on the back pillar of the statue, but the titles are very similar of those found on the back of a colossal statue of hers in Akhmim, which also depicts her with the same headdress.

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