Rare Egyptian Statue of Meretseger, New Kingdom, 19th-20th Dynasty, circa 1295-1070 BC
Because her worship was localized, representations of Meretseger are relatively rare and most commonly depicted in relief form. There is only one other existing statue like this one carved in the round from the Drovetti Collection in the Museo Egizio, Turin.
A deity of protection, Meretseger, whose name translates as ‘the one who loves silence’, was thought to guard the tombs in the Valley of the Kings from the heights of her mountain dwelling which overlooked the royal necropolis at Thebes. She also protected the area from criminals and oath breakers, striking down all those with evil intent with snakebites or blindness. Her worship was centered around the village of workmen at Deir el Medina during the New Kingdom. When the royal tombs there were abandoned during the 21st Dynasty, the worship of Meretseger died out.
The figure has the rearing cobra-goddess with the head of an aged female, wearing a tripartite wig and a two-stringed collar necklace, her body in the form of a cobra in three looped coils behind her, the front incised with details of the scaly underbelly, on an integral rectangular base.