Virtual Guide

Amarna Life and Death

The proscription of the cult of Amun and the pre-emenence of the Aten has lead many to the conclusion that the religion of Armana was Monotheistic. One of the most consistent elements of Amarna ideology is the identification with divinity of the royal family - was this a new form of Pantheism which bypassed the need for a priesthood beyond royal control or was it truly the ideology of One God?

In this highly individualized sculpture, the elderly queen wears the tall feather crown worn by the goddess Hathor. Like her husband, Amenhotep III, the queen was declared a deity later in life and played an important role in the reigns of her spouse and son.

Recent scanner tomography research has shown that the head was altered in antiquity and that the items visible under her wig are part of an original regal silver headdress. This was replaced by the wig and tall feather crown which is worn by the goddesses Isis and Hathor an expression of Tiye's deification.

Queen Tiye wearing a Hathor headdress

Medinet el-Gurob Reign of Akhenaten, 1353 - 1336 B.C.
Yew and acacia woods, silver, gold, linen, glass
h. 22.5 cm, w. 7.6 cm, d. 7.9 cm
Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung, Berlin