This rare, bright blue glazed faience plaque in the form of a cartouche is molded in raised relief for Queen Tiye, the Great Royal Wife of Amenhotep III, mother of Amenhotep IV - later known as Akhenaten, and grandmother of Tutankhamun.
This woman was a firecracker! From modest beginnings, she rose to be the most powerful woman in Egypt. No previous queen ever figured so prominently in her husband's lifetime. Tiye regularly appeared beside Amenhotep III in statuary, tomb and temple reliefs, and stelae while her name is paired with his on numerous small objects, such as vessels and jewelry, the large commemorative scarabs, where her name regularly follows his in the dateline. New elements in her portraiture, such as the addition of cows' horns and sun disks—attributes of the goddess Hathor—to her headdress, and her representation in the form of a sphinx—an image formerly reserved for the king—emphasize her role as the king's divine, as well as earthly partner.
Amenhotep III built a temple to her in Sedeinga in northern Sudan, where she was worshiped as a form of Hathor ... The temple at Sedeinga was the pendant to Amenhotep III's own, larger temple at Soleb, fifteen kilometres to the south (an arrangement followed a century later by Ramses II at Abu Simbel, where there are likewise two temples, the larger southern temple dedicated to the king, and the smaller, northern temple dedicated to the queen, Nefertiry, as Hathor).
Tiye is believed to have been originally buried in Akhenaten's royal tomb at Amarna alongside her son and granddaughter, Meketaten, as a fragment from the tomb was identified as being from her sarcophagus. Her gilded burial shrine (showing her with Akhenaten) ended up in KV55 while shabtis belonging to her were found in Amenhotep III's WV22 tomb.
Her mummified remains were found adjacent to two other mummies in an opposite side chamber of Amenhotep II in KV35 by Victor Loret in 1898. Strands of her hair were DNA matched in 2010 to strands found inside Tutankhamun's tomb.
Bibliography: O'Connor, David; Cline, Eric H. (1998). Amenhotep III: Perspectives on His Reign. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-08833-1.
Kozloff, Arielle; Bryan, Betsy (1992). "Royal and Divine Statuary". Egypt’s Dazzling Sun: Amenhotep III and his World. Cleveland. ISBN 978-0-940717-16-9.
Hawass, Zahi et al. "Ancestry and Pathology in King Tutankhamun's Family" The Journal of the American Medical Association pp.640-641
Dimensions: Length: 3.2 cm (1 1/4 inches)
Condition: Small top ring missing otherwise intact with no repairs or hairline cracks and in excellent condition overall.
Exhibited: Metropolitan Museum NY 1920-38, Boston Museum of Fine Art 1945-60, and Museum of Man, California in 1968.
Provenance: Acquired in Egypt by Goddard Du Bois (b. 1869 – d. 1925) and Josephine Cook Du Bois (b. 1864 – d. 1961), New York between 1900 and 1907, exhibited Metropolitan Museum of Art (1920-1938), Boston Museum of Fine Art, (1945-60) and Museum of Man, California in 1968.