This work, 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 pharaoh’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.
Black granite, Ramesseum, West Thebes; Horti Sallustiani, Rome. Now in the Vatican Museums. Cat. 22678