Nefermaat and Itet

Nefermaat and his wife Itet, from a relief in their tomb at Meidum.

Nefermaat and his wife Itet, from a relief in their tomb at Meidum.

Nefermaat was a son of Snofru, the founder of the 4th DynastyAs such he was the half brother of Rahotep and of Kheops, the second king of the 4th Dynasty.
The name of his mother is not known with certainty. 

His wife was a woman named Itet, who bore the title 'known to the king'. This title is often taken to indicate a person that was part of the royal entourage, often a more distant relative. She may have gained her title through her marriage with the son of the king. The names of her parents are not known.

The names of several children of Nefermaat and Itet are known: the princes Hemiunu -the architect who built the pyramid of Kheops at Giza-, Isu, Teta, Khentimeresh, Itisen, Inkaef, Serfka, Wehemka, Shepseska, Kakhent, Ankherfenedjef and Ankhersheretef; and the princesses Djefatsen, Isesu and Pageti.

Nefermaat's titulary was elaborate and impressive, including general titles such as member of the elite, priestly titles such as priest of Bastet; and civil titles like royal seal bearer and vizier. A relief found in his tomb describes him as 'he is the one who made his gods in writing that cannot be erased', perhaps an indication that he was looking for ways to make reliefs more durable.

He was buried in a mastaba at Meidum, near the pyramid built there by his father. As Snofru was finally buried in the so-called Red Pyramid at Dashur, some 40 kilometres to the North it is very likely that Nefermaat died when Meidum was still intended as the royal cemetery. As recent archaeological research has led to the assumption that Snofru abandoned Meidum between his 15th and 28th year, Nefermaat probably died before Snofru's 15th year. In any case, he died before his father did, since it was his younger half brother Kheops who became the next king.

This tomb has become famous for a fragment of painted plaster, representing some geese, that have come to be known as The Meidum Geese.

Three of the six Meidum Geese from Nefermaat's tomb at Meidum.
Source: Tiradriti, Egyptian TreasuresHarry N. Abrams Inc., 1999, pp. 60-61 


© Jacques Kinnaer 1997 - 2017