Pectoral necklace of Princess Mereret
This exquisite piece of jewellery is a pectoral necklace of Princess Mereret, who lived during the 12th Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom and was a daughter of Senwosret III.
The pectoral shows a cartouche with the throne name of Senwosret III: Kha Kau Ra - "The Kas of Ra have appeared".
Represented as two falcon-headed sphinxes, the king smites his enemies. Above, the vulture-goddess, Nekhbet is shown spreading out her wings to protect the figure of the king and his name. Nekhbet is the patron goddess of Upper Egypt, one of the Two Ladies, the other being Wadjet, the cobra goddess of Lower Egypt.
Made of gold, the pectoral is inlaid with lapis lazuli, carnelian, turquoise and amethyst. The size of the pectoral is 6.1x8.5 cms.
It was discovered in Dahshur in 1894 in the funerary complex of Senusret III. Dahshur is on the west bank of the Nile, 40 kilometres south of Cairo. Jacques de Morgan explored a gallery of tombs here, one of which was Mereret's.
The burials of the royal women were looted in ancient times but the robbers missed two gold-inlaid wooden chests of personal jewellery, one of them belonging to Princess Sithathor the other to Princess Mereret.
We should be able to view this wonderful piece of jewellery in Cairo, inventory number in the Cairo Museum at Tahrir is JE 30875 - I am unsure however if it is still in the Cairo Museum or if it will it be displayed somewhere else after all the recent movements of artefacts.