Relief of Merneptah and Ra

This relief is from the tomb of the pharaoh Merneptah in the Valley of the Kings. It shows the pharaoh with the sun god Ra. Ra is shown as a man with a falcon's head and the sun on his head, with a cobra around it.

Merneptah is shown wearing the blue and yellow striped nemes headdress. On top of that is another crown, which is a mix of different things. It has a stripy version of Osiris's crown (the pharaoh's white crown plus two ostrich feathers); it has two cobras with suns on their heads; and it has ram's horns.

Merneptah was the sun of Rameses II, a very famous pharaoh. Merneptah ruled from about 1213 to 1204BC, so only 9 years. He was about 70 when he became pharaoh, as his father had lived to the very old age of 92.

The tomb was excavated in 1903 by Howard Carter, the archaeologist who found Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922. Like the rest of the tombs it had been robbed in ancient times, and there were only a few remains of the funerary furniture, and the enormous stone sarcophagus.

This relief appears on the wall not far from the entrance, and is an example of the superb craftsmanship of this period. The original is shown in the photo below.