Mereruka's Mastaba is the largest mastaba (flat-topped tomb) in Saqqara, best known for its interior reliefs and murals.
The mastaba tomb of Mereruka also known as Meri is situated in the north-east sector of the necropolis of Saqqara, not far from the edge of the plateau, just to the north of the pyramid of Teti, the first pharaoh of 6th Dynasty.
History of Mastaba of Mereruka
The mastaba dates from the 6th Dynasty (2323-2150 BC) in the Old Kingdom period, During this period power of the pharaohs was declining as can be seen in the comparatively small size and poor construction of their pyramids. However, increasing power attained by the large aristocratic families became apparent in the size and quality of the decoration of their mastabas. Two mastabas, located next to each other, are of special importance, that of the vizier Mereruka and that of Kagemni (his predecessor). Mereruka's is by far the more complex and is located to the west of the other. It is not given over totally to Mereruka; his chambers will be given the prefix "A" (see plan). The south west quarter was designed as being a separate set of chambers for his wife, Watetkhethor; her chambers will have the prefix "B". The main structure was later extended at the north for his son, Meryteti; his chambers are prefixed "C". Both of these areas have their entrance from within the part of the complex devoted to Mereruka. Excavations of Mereruka's Mastaba began in 1892 under Jacques de Morgan.
What to See at Mastaba of Mereruka
The mastaba contains 32 rooms, decorated with painted reliefs of everyday Egyptian life: fishing, hunting, metalworking (with dwarfs), sailing, and force-feeding animals, including a hyena. A standing statue of Mereruka emerges dynamically from a niche, marking the center of his cult and the place for offerings.
Kagemni's Mastaba adjoins the mastaba of Mereruka and is also well-decorated; probably by the same artist since similar scenes appear in both.
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