Statue of Queen Tuya
This statue, sculpted during 18th Dynasty with the features of Queen Tiye, wife of Amenhotep III, was usurped and reused during the 19th Dynasty by Ramesses II, who dedicated it to his mother Tuya.
This queen, who had an important political and court role, received after her death a funerary cult associated with that of her son in the so-called Ramesseum, the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses II in West Thebes, where this statue would originally have been erected.
On the left side of the dorsal pillar the princess Henutmire is depicted, described in the brief inscription as the “royal daughter” or the “royal wife”.
Considered in the past to have been one of the daughters of Ramesses II, Henutmire has now been identified as one of the king’s sisters, possibly the daughter of the same father Seti I.
Her statue would have been brought to Rome and placed in the “Gardens of Sallust” of the emperor Caligula, along with the statues of Ptolemy II, Arsinoe II and Drusilla- Arsinoe.
It was unearthed in 1714 in the gardens of Vigna Verospi, and entered the Vatican upon the foundation of the new Egyptian Museum in 1839.
Queen Tuya holds significance in ancient Egyptian history as the wife of King Seti I and the mother of Ramesses II, who was one of the most renowned kings of Egypt. While Queen Tuya’s exact role and contributions may not be extensively documented, her status as a queen consort and her lineage played a crucial role in the royal lineage and succession.
As the mother of Ramesses II, she played a part in shaping the future of Egypt through her son’s reign and accomplishments. Additionally, her presence and influence within the royal court would have carried political and social significance during her time.
Black granite, Ramesseum, West Thebes; Horti Sallustiani, Rome. Now in the Vatican Museums. Cat. 22678