Statue of wife of Nakhtmin

The statue of the wife of Nakhtmin is one of the most elegantly sculptured women figures from ancient Egypt. She is depicted wearing a transparent garment of fine, pleated linen and a wig with a band of petals with a blooming lotus flower in the center.

In her left hand she holds a menat necklace, which is associated with the goddess Hathor. On the back in hieroglyphs the titles of her husband general Nakhtmin are engraved as it was originally a statue of the couple.

Statue of wife of Nakhtmin. Sharm El Sheikh Museum. CG 779B
Statue of wife of Nakhtmin. Sharm El Sheikh Museum. CG 779B

Nakhtmin was a royal scribe and army general under Tutankhamun and his successor Ay. Nakhtmin was heir apparent, and possibly the son of Ay, but was supplanted by Horemheb, who may have had his statue destroyed.

The statue with the inscription has suffered extensive damage. Only two pieces remain, the head and shoulders of Nakhtmin and the upper part of the body and head of his wife.

Nakhtmin was identified as the “Crown Prince” (jrj-pꜥt) and “King’s Son”. (zꜣ-nzw). This title could be completed as “King’s Son of his own body,” which would make him the son of Ay, or it could be completed as the “King’s Son of Kush”.

There is no record of a Viceroy of Kush by the name of Nakhtmin, and it seems that the nobleman Paser I was Viceroy during that time period. This has led to the identification of Nakhtmin as Ay’s son, or adopted son. His facial characteristics are influenced by the Amarna Period.

Both statues look as though the eyes, nose and mouth have been deliberately damaged. This has been interpreted as some form of persecution even after death.

Statue of General Nakhtmin. Luxor Museum.
Part of a group statue depicting Nakhtmin and his wife. Luxor Museum.

New Kingdom, late 18th Dynasty, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1353-1292 BC. Now in the Sharm El Sheikh Museum. CG 779B