Granite Head of Queen Tiye, Granite

This granite head of Queen Tiye shows the queen wearing a huge wig, surrounded by the wings of the protective vulture. Over the forehead are two cobra heads and one vulture. The uraeus cobra on the right wears the Red Deshret Crown of Lower Egypt, and the cobra on the left probably wore the White Hedjet Crown of Upper Egypt, now lost.

Despite the damage to the face, her features can be clearly seen. Her oval face has high cheekbones and narrow, almond-shaped eyes. She has the full mouth of a determined and serious woman with a noble spirit. Her lips are smiling, revealing her lovely personality.

Head of Queen Tiye with Large Wig
Head of Queen Tiye with Large Wig. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. CG609

This incomplete head probably belongs to Queen Tiye, wife of King Amenhotep III and mother of Akhenaten, based on her distinguished features. The queen wears a large wig on top of which is the remains of a circular base that was used to support a crown. The wig is decorated with three uraei, or royal cobras, with undulating bodies, lotus flowers, and sunbeams.

Related: Relief of Queen Tiye

Her facial features reflect her strong character; queen Tiye was an influential woman; the Amarna letters confirm that the queen played a political role. Tushrata the king of Mitanni, sent her a letter, also sending two to Akhenaten, advising him to consult his mother concerning his county’s problems. Although Akhenaten intended to bury his mother in his new capital, she was eventually buried beside her husband in the Valley of the Kings.

New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Amenhotep III, ca. 1391-1353 BC. Black granite. Provence unknown. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. CG 609