Not all ostraca are throwaway sketches or notes, some are fully finished objects in their own right. This is one of those – it was found in the temple at Deir el Medina, and shows the goddess Meretseger as a snake in front of offerings of lotus flowers.

Presumably it was a votive offering left there by a worshipper. It seems to be a standard design – I’ve seen another very similar one in Turin where the goddess and the offerings look the same but there is more text on this one than on the Turin one.

Meretseger was a fairly localised goddess associated with the Theban Necropolis. She was particularly worshipped by the craftsmen who worked on the tombs (in the Valley of the Kings etc). This little piece was probably made by one of these craftsmen to win the goddess’s favour.

ETA: Dario Nannini on Facebook tells me that the inscription says it was dedicated by the “servant in the Place of Truth, Meryre, true of voice before the great god”.

Ostracon Depicting Meretseger. From Deir el Medina. New Kingdom. Acc. No.: JE43661

It’s now in the Cairo Museum, acc. no. JE43661.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/641/

See my photo of the Turin one on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/rYwhT1

I’ve written about Meretseger on the blog in the past: https://talesfromthetwolands.org/2019/10/11/she-who-loves-silence/

Jigsaw puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=0ef7c3793f76
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=17dad0e1a5ac

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