There were eleven wooden statues found in the tomb of Merti at Saqqara, who lived during the 5th Dynasty (over 4000 years ago) and was a high official and provincial governor. These two are Merti (back) and his wife (foreground).

I say “his wife” coz that’s what the museum label says, but she has no inscription so it’s really shorthand for “a woman associated with Merti perhaps his wife, perhaps his mother”. A reminder that the limited space of a museum label can make it sound more definitive than it is!

The statues are made of acacia wood, and would once have been painted. I’m always astonished that wooden objects like this have survived so long. They’re still beautiful too, and display a great attention to detail. Once they must’ve been spectacular.

Statues of Merti and his wife. From Tomb of Merti, Saqqara. Old Kingdom, Dynasty 5, c. 2381-2323 BCE. Acc. No.s: 26.2.2 and 26.2.3

These two are now in the Met Museum (acc. no.s: 26.2.2 and 26.2.3), along with 3 others; 5 more are in Cairo and the last is in Stockholm.

See it on my photo site: and go left for two more views of this pair of statues.

Jigsaw Puzzles:

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