Meresankh

Ink pen and colored pencil on acid free paper, 17.8 x 25.3 cm (7 x 10 in.)

Spiral rings removed after the scan, but otherwise mostly unedited, except that I moved the eye over
© Joan Ann Lansberry, January 2013

It began with seeing an education photo of Meresankh as she appears in her 4th Dynasty Mastaba:


"Here is a relief of Queen Meresankh III from her mastaba at Giza. She was the grand-daughter of the Pharaoh Khufu and married her unclek, King Khafre - builder of the second pyramid at Giza.

"Here she holds an open lotus flower, the symbol of rebirth, breathing in the fragrance.

"Meresankh' neam means 'She loves life', although it is written 'Loves She Life'.

"This is because that hieroglyphic form of 'she' is a 'suffix pronoun' - it is always attached to a previous word and cannot start a sentence. This sentence follows the form ‘verb+subject+object’."
Photo and text: Jeffrey Ross Burzacott via the "Hieroglyphica" Facebook page

I found some additional photos from which to draw at the Osirisnet website. At that page, "She is identified as: 'The beholder of Horus and Seth, the great favourite, the companion of Horus, beloved of him, the follower of Horus, wife of the king, daughter of the king, Mersyankh'". This is because the pharaoh was believed to be the embodiment of Horus and Set, and by beholding her husband, she would see those divine forces acting within him.

(There's an old photo that includes more details in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts bulletin from October 1927. I've screencaptured the relevant scene.)

(Note of July 10, 2013)
Pharaon magazine has beautiful photos of Meresankh's tomb, they are enlargeable with a click. Should that link fail, here is the one which shows her title as "the beholder of Set and Horus".


This crop from a photo by François Tonic