In 1986, during excavations in Saqqara by the Egypt Exploration Society and the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, the tomb of Maya and Merit was brought to light again. Maya was a great man in the Egypt of Tutankhamen and Horemheb. It is possible that he already embarked upon his career during the reign of Akhenaten. He was ‘Director of the Treasury’, and accordingly one could view himas the minister of Home Affairs and of the Treasury. Maya organized the arrangement of Tutankhamen’s tomb. He had his own tomb built next to that of general Horemheb. At a later date, at the time of Ramses II, the space in between was used to house the tomb of the treasury director Tia.
The lay-out of Maya’s tomb is one occurring more often: through a high gate (pylon) one enters an inner court with three large, roofed rooms. Next, there is a second inner court featuring three chapels. In the centre of the second court there is a deep shaft; by way of a system of corridors, a second shaft and a spiral staircase one reaches three decorated rooms, at a depth of 22 metres. At one time, these housed the mummies of Maya and his wife Merit.
In this statue Maya and Merit are pictured as recipients of food. As such, they represent the ‘ka’, the life principle of the persons depicted. They are dressed in their finest clothes. It is clearly visible that the statue was painted at one time, but the white of the clothes has turned yellowish.