The north wall

Room K, north wall. Scenes overlapping adjacent walls Salle K, mur nord. Scènes à cheval sur les murs adjacents

The north wall can be divided into three parts: the couple in adoration in front of Geb; the couple in adoration before Sokar and Wepwawet; between the two the wall blocking to annexe M.

Maya and Meryt in front of Geb

Meryt stands on the left side of the west wall, her husband and the God are on the north wall. This area was found damaged, but the faces are preserved. The accompanying text is also damaged: "Geb, prince of the gods, great God, Lord of heaven, Lord of Earth, who is in the necropolis. Praise to you, Geb, great God! I come to (you) in order to behold your perfection. By the royal scribe, etc."

The opening to annexe M

It is 1.69m high and 0.72m wide. On the two slabs that close the opening, Isis and Nephthys, facing to the right, are represented on a much smaller scale than the other characters; the sceptres they hold in their hands have not been modified.

The lintel above the door is decorated once again with two Anubises, with the usual epithets, lying on two tombs or two shrines.

Maya and Meryt before Sokar and Wepwawet

This scene is not of a quality comparable to the adjacent scenes and the craftsmen have made extensive use of plaster.
Sokar has a man's body, and a vulture head with the atef-crown. He holds with one hand a was-sceptre. Wepwawet, with a canid's head, lies behind him on the western corner of the north wall. He, too, holds a sceptre. Maya and Meryt stand before the two gods, their arms raised in adoration.
The accompanying text says: "Sokar, the great God, who dwells in the Shetayt, Lord of heaven, Lord of earth. Wepwawet of the South, Leader of the Two Lands, Great God, son of Wenennefer.
Praise to you, Sokar, great God, Lord of Heaven, by the royal scribe, the Overseer of the treasury of the Lord of the Two Lands, Maya, justified. Praise to you, Sokar, great God, Lord of Heaven, May you cause me to be among the followers of your son with whom you are (?), for the Ka of the singer of Amun, Meryt, justified."

Room O

The sculptural work here is assured, with particular attention paid to the faces of the deities and the couple. In this room, gods and humans wear jewels, some traces of blue of which are visible.

Median Register Registre médian

The west wall (south side)


The décor consists of a vignette from chapter 151A of the Book of the Dead, associated with some headings. This is a duplicate of scene 1 of the west wall of Room K, but with even less text. We pay it little attention here.

The south wall

South Wall Paroi sud

This relief is an almost identical copy of the one that decorates the south wall of Room K, but here too, the texts are abbreviated. Maya and Meryt are represented in front of Osiris (seated), Nut, Isis and Nephtys (standing). The depiction of Osiris is damaged, which is probably due to the acts, in antiquity, of looters in search of a secret chamber. The gaps in the stone were filled with plaster. We notice that the text in front of Meryt is tilted to the left (), that the Isis’s sceptre is superimposed on Nut's arm and wig, as is also the entire sceptre of Nephtys.
The inscription associated with the deities reads: "Osiris, foremost of the West, Lord of Eternity, ruler of the [Netherworld, Lord of] splendour in the womb of Nut, tall of plumes, sharp of horns. [Nut, the great one, who gives birth [to the Gods, who dispels] chaos from her son. [Is]is the divine, Lady of Heaven. Nephtys, Sister of the God, Lady of Eternity.".
The texts relating to the deceased couple: "Adoring Osiris-Wenennefer, great God, Lord of the Sacred Land, by the Osiris [the royal scribe, overseer of the Treasury Maya] justified. He says, 'Praise to you, Osiris, you first-born, son of Geb! Your son Horus is established upon your throne, your protector, sweet of love, while his mother Isis safeguards him by creating his magical protection on earth. His sister, the singer of Amun, Meryt, justified."

The east wall

East wall Paroi est

Maya and Meryt are again before Osiris, Nut, Isis and Nephtys. Here too, the texts are duplicates of those of the previous scene with very minor variations. At most, it can be noted that the hieroglyph Pet (the sky) at the top of the wall is engraved in such a way that it seems almost undulating (like an arrow).

The north wall

North Wall Paroi nord

The north wall can be divided into three parts: Maya in adoration in front of Osiris; Meryt in adoration before Anubis; between the two the blocking to the entrance to Annexe P.

Maya in front of Osiris

The god is standing on a bevelled maât sign. He is wearing the atef-crown, and wears the curved false beard of the blessed dead while also holding a was-sceptre in both hands.

The opening to Annexe P

It is 1.42m high and 0.78m wide. On the slabs closing the opening, Isis and Nephthys, facing to the right, are represented on a much smaller scale than the other characters.

The lintel above the door is largely painted in black sketch lines on the plaster and on a yellow wash. The pigment was carelessly applied. The décor, is without originality, and includes two Anubises, with the usual epithets, lying on two tombs or two shrines.

On the left side of the wall, the image of Meryt worshiping is part of a scene on the adjacent wall.

The west wall (north side)

West wall, north side Paroi ouest, côté nord

This wall bears a scene which extends onto the north wall. Maya, followed by Meryt, stands in front of a representation of a standing Anubis. The accompanying inscription reads: "Anubis, who is in bandages, great God, foremost of the divine booth, Lord of Eternity. Giving praise to Anubis, kissing the ground before (him) every day. May you grant (the ability) to enter and leave the necropolis, By the Osiris, the royal scribe, the Overseer of the Treasury, Maya, justified.
Giving praise to Anubis, kissing the ground before (him) in the necropolis, by the singer of Amun-Re, King of the Gods, Meryt, justified. She says: I have come to you, Anubis, who will exist for ever, in order that you may grant me to be among your praised ones who are in your following. May I be summoned by my name, may I be found on the day of Ro-setau. May offerings (i.e. the offering formula) be recited for me before you as for all your praised ones. For the Ka (of) the singer of Amun, the Lady of the house, Meryt, justified in the necropolis, revered in peace."


Appendix 1 : The Leyden Statues

We have already seen that fragments of reliefs or funerary stelae from Maya's tomb have been scattered in several museums around the world. Those found in situ have been restored and put back in place. All these pieces are listed in the work by G.T. Martin: "The Tomb of Maya and Meryt 1" to which the reader can refer.
We must nevertheless speak of the three large statues of Maya and Meryt, originating from the collection of Anastazy, kept at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (RMO) in Leiden (Netherlands). All the more so since it was the absence of reliable information on the origin and the archaeological context of the discovery of these masterpieces that led the RMO, in association with the EES, to excavate the New Kingdom necropolis of Saqqara.

These are a statue of Maya, a statue of Meryt and a dyad of the couple; all three come from the same Memphite workshop. They were painted, but over time the white of the clothes has acquired a yellowish tinge. They are of remarkable quality (although the work has been negligent in places) and the talent of the sculptor succeeded in perfectly rendering the quiet strength and dignity inherent in the function and social status of these two figures.
The appreciation stated by Jocelyne Berlandini about one of the scenes from the tomb could be extended to these statues: "an incomparable fusion of the realism of the Old Kingdom, of the gentleness of the Amenophis III period and of Amarnan expressionism "..

Maya & Meryt dyad, RMODyade de Maya & Meryt, RMO

The dyad

The statue is in perfect condition. It almost certainly comes from the portico, where it was perhaps positioned on a plinth. It measures 1.58m on Maya’s side and 1.56m on Meryt’s side. Maya is seated on the left, his wife on the right.
The right arm is beautifully sculpted, stretched out flat on the upper thigh. The left arm is also extended, but the hand holds a folded bolt of plain fabric, the ends of which fall to the side of the thigh. A column of text is engraved on Maya's skirt: "All that comes on the altar of the Lord of the gods for the Ka of the true royal scribe, Overseer of the Treasury of the Lord of the Two Lands, Maya, justified". In both figures, the sculptor paid particular attention to the faces and arms, which are rendered very realistically.

Maya’s statue

n perfect condition, but with a few non-sculpted and / or unpainted areas, it comes from the western end of the statues room, next to the passage in the inner courtyard. It stood on a limestone plinth (). It is two meters high (with the base). Maya is seated on a chair identical to that of the above dyad. He holds a folded cloth in his left-hand which rests on his thigh. A column of text is engraved on her skirt "All that comes on the altar of Osiris Wenennefer, bread and beer, beef and fowl, and everything good and pure for the Ka of the royal scribe, the steward Maya, justified before the Great God".

Meryt's statue

It too is also in perfect condition, and was also in the room of statues, on the other side of the passage towards the courtyard. It measures 1.88m in height. Meryt is sitting on a chair identical to that of her husband, which is also unfinished. She wears a pleated dress with puffed sleeves; in her left hand she holds a large Menat necklace surmounted by a head of the goddess Hathor ().
A column of text is engraved on her skirt: "All that comes to the altar of Osiris, who is the foremost of the West, bread and beer, beef and fowl, and every good and pure thing on which a god lives. For the Ka of his beloved sister, whom he loves, the singer of Amun Meryt, justified.".

Appendix 2 : The Graduated Cubit measure of Maya

This measuring instrument could have been useful to Maya in his function of overseer of works; it also shows signs of wear. But it is also a votive object, as shown by the dedication on the underside, which is an exhortation from Maya to the priests of an unknown temple, so that they pronounce the formula of distribution of the offerings returning from the table of the god: "The fan-holder on the right of the king, the royal scribe, the overseer of the Double treasury of the Lord of the Two Lands, Maya, says: 'O the wab-priests, the lector priests of this temple, your gods of your cities will listen to your prayers, you will be prosperous thanks to your functions, after a good old age, if you pronounce my name and if you do for me as (one does to) a favoured near his master, (for me) the fan-bearer on the right of the king, the one who is at the feet of the Lord of the Two Lands, the one who has not left the Good God (the king) wherever his footsteps carry him…'"
More details are on the Louvre Museum website.

Appendix 3 : Fragments of the surface chapel, now in the Cairo Museum

Fragments of the surface chapel, Cairo Museum
Courtesy Alain Guilleux, site Photosegypte

Fragments of the surface chapel, now in the Cairo Museum
Thanks to Laura Harris, PhD student at Macquarie University in Sydney (Australia).

But for the doorjambs, all the blocks come from area 12 (see p.3) and the livestock counting scene is in the lower register, below the image of the Hathor cow in her boat (see ).

Appendix 4: videos

I highly recommend the virtual tour of Maya & Meryt's tomb, created by Salma El Dardiry and Karim Mansour, who run the website Describing Egypt.

The following two videos are due to the kindness of Marie-Thérèse Pérardelle. They concern only the relocated underground chambers:

Underground - Room H Salle souterraine H
Underground - Rooms K and O Salles souterraines K and O