Relief Depicting the Purification of Queen Kiya (?)

Period: New Kingdom, Amarna Period

Dynasty: Dynasty 18

Reign: reign of Akhenaten

Date: ca. 1353–1336 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt; Probably from Middle Egypt, Hermopolis (Ashmunein; Khemenu); Probably originally from Amarna (Akhetaten)

Medium: Limestone, paint

Dimensions: H. 22.8 × l. 47 × d. 2.5 cm (9 × 18 1/2 × 1 in.)

Credit Line: Gift of Norbert Schimmel, 1985

Accession Number: 1985.328.8


Queen Kiya was a much favored secondary wife of Amenhotep IV/Akhenaton. Of unknown origin, she appears to have died before the end of his reign and some of her monuments, including this relief, were altered to represent one of the king's elder daughters. Her canopic equipment was also reappropriated and used for the burial of a member of the Amarna royal family in Tomb 55 of the Valley of the Kings (30.8.54).

This relief block was said to have come from Hermopolis, though it was probably originally part of a monument at Amarna. Kiya is shown undergoing ritual purification; the zigzag lines of water flow down on either side of her head. She originally wore the so-called Nubian wig and is shown in the more naturalistic style of the later years of Akhenaton's reign.