Statuette of Lady Thuya

The statuette of Thuya is carved from two species of wood that the Egyptians imported from the south – shea wood for the base, and African grenadilla for the lady herself. There are offering formulae on the back pillar and the base, dedicated to Osiris, Isis and “all the Gods who are in the West (necropolis)”.

In the afterlife, Thuya was thus expected to enjoy the food and floral offerings adorning the front of the base. Thuya is portrayed standing, with her left foot forward and her right arm by her side; the perforation in her right hand suggests that she once held an object, perhaps a floral scepter. With her left hand, she clasps a menat necklace (a tool of her office) between her breasts.

Statuette of Lady Thuya
Statuette of Lady Thuya. Photo: Christian Décamps

The dedication to the great gods of the necropolis and the food offerings engraved on the base suggest that this statuette featured among the grave goods in Thuya’s tomb. The text and offerings guaranteed her survival and protection in the afterlife.

Thuya or Tjuyu was an Egyptian noblewoman and the mother of queen Tiye, and the wife of Yuya. She is the grandmother of Akhenaten, and great grandmother of Tutankhamun.

Thuya was a Chantress of Min, and superior of his harem; she was thus an important person in Akhmim (the god’s cult center) and in Thebes (the capital city, where Min was associated with the dynastic god Amun).

New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Amenhotep III, around 1375 BC. Now in the Louvre, Paris. E 10655