Red quartzite; H. 4 3/8 in. (11.2 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1911 (11.150.26)
Tiye, wife and chief queen of Amenhotep III and mother of Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten, was an important and influential person during the reigns of both kings. While not born into the royal family, she was the daughter of a powerful noble and military family with close connections to the king. Her parents, Yuya and Tuya, were given a rich burial in the Valley of the Kings; one brother held a powerful priesthood and another may have been Aya, who became pharaoh after the death of Tutankhamun. One niece may have been Nefertiti, who married her son Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten and another the wife of Haremhab, last king of Dynasty 18. She survived the death of Amenhotep III and moved with her son to his new capital at Tell el-Amarna.
This head probably comes from the workshop of the royal sculptor Thutmose at Tell el-Amarna. Approximately two-thirds lifesize, it would have been part of a composite statue of various stones. The eyes would have been inlaid and it probably wore a wig of another material. The face is that of a beautiful but no longer young woman well aware of and comfortable with her power.