The mummy of Yuya, Grandfather of Akhenaten

The mummy of Yuya was found partially wrapped with only his torso being divested of wrappings by ancient robbers. When the body of Yuya was removed from his innermost coffin, a partially strung necklace composed of large gold and lapis lazuli beads was found behind his neck, where it had presumably fallen after being snapped by looters.

Yuya was a courtier from Akhmim, Egypt, with titles such as “King’s Lieutenant Master of the Horse Father-of-the-god”, Yuya was a prophet of Min, the chief god of the area, and served as this deity’s “Superintendent of Cattle”.

Mummy of Yuya
Mummy of Yuya

His mummy was found in the Valley of the Kings alongside his wife Thuya’s in Tomb KV46 in 1905 by British Egyptologist James Edward Quibell. Yuya was interred within a rectangular wooden sarcophagus placed against the north wall; its lid was shaped like the vaulted per-nu shrine of Lower Egypt.

Related: Mask of Lady Thuya

Yuya & Thuya’s tomb was the most famous “untouched” tomb until 16 years later with the discovery of Tutankhamun’s a few years later (Thuya & Yuya’s great-grandson).

The tomb of Yuya and Thuya was, until the discovery of Tutankhamun’s, one of the most spectacular ever found in the Valley of the Kings despite Yuya not being a king.

Yuya depicted within his Book of the Dead
Yuya depicted within his Book of the Dead

Although the burial site was robbed in antiquity, many objects not considered worth plundering by the robbers remained. Both the mummies were largely intact and were in an amazing state of preservation.

Their faces in particular were relatively undistorted by the process of mummification, and provide an extraordinary insight into the actual appearance of the deceased while alive

Related: Tutankhamun’s mother (The Younger Lady)

Sir Grafton Elliot Smith describes the mummy of Yuya as one of the finest examples of the embalming practices of the 18th Dynasty.

The mummy is that of an older man. His thick, wavy hair is a yellowish color, and was probably bleached by the embalming materials rather than being naturally blonde.

mummies of Yuya and Thuya
The mummies of Yuya and Thuya. Parents of Queen Tiye, and great-grandparents of Tutankhamun.
Quibell, J. E.; Smith, Grafton Elliot (1908). Tomb of Yuaa and Thuiu. Le Caire Impremerie De L’Institut Francais D’Archeologie Orientale. pp.IV

Smith says the hair was white when Yuya died. His body cavity was packed with balls of linen soaked in resins, and his perineum is thickly coated with resinous material to such an extent that his genitals are completely covered.

Yuya’s arms were crossed over his chest, with the fingers of the hands extended. His eye sockets were packed with linen and the eyelids had been pulled closed.

According to studies, it is approximated that Yuya died between 50 and 60 years of age.