Mereruka was vizier during the reigns of Kings Teti (c.2345–2323 BC) and Pepy I (c.2321–2287 BC). As vizier, the highest-ranking official, and husband of a daughter of Teti’s, Mereruka was a very powerful and wealthy man. It is all the more significant that he held this title during the reigns of the first two rulers of the Sixth Dynasty, a time when the elite’s power had grown substantially.
Mereruka was buried in a mastaba to the north of the pyramid of Teti in Saqqara. Reflecting his status, it is among the largest in the Teti cemetery, and among the most exquisitely decorated tombs of the Old Kingdom (c.2686–2181 BC). The rooms inside the mastaba were often the venue for the performance of the cult for the soul of the tomb owner. Mereruka’s massive mastaba contains a total of thirty rooms, including five for his wife, and another five for his son.
Many beautiful scenes adorning the walls of this tomb provide insight into life during the Old Kingdom, such as the herding of cattle through marshes, the harpooning of hippopotami, and fishing and fowling scenes, all of which are shown in amazingly vivid detail. Also shown are scenes of animals being force-fed, although exceptionally hyenas are depicted among them. A unique scene depicts personifications of the three seasons of the ancient Egyptian calendar. The focal point of the entire tomb was the false-door. In Mereruka’s mastaba, a life-size statue of him steps out, ready to receive the offerings that were set on the offering table before him.