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Work The former Queen Ahmose Nefertari, protectress of royal tomb workers, deified

Department of Egyptian Antiquities: The New Kingdom (circa 1550 to circa 1069 BC)

L'ancienne reine divinisée Ahmès Néfertari, protectrice des ouvriers des tombes royales

© Musée du Louvre/Chr. Décamps

Egyptian Antiquities
The New Kingdom (circa 1550 to circa 1069 BC)

Author(s):
Aït-Kaci Lili

This statuette portrays the wife of the first king of the New Kingdom. It was dedicated by the worker Djehutyhermaketef, who hoped to receive a good life and beautiful tomb in return. It is one of the most charming examples of small wooden statuary from the pharaonic era. Her pose, clothing, and headdress are all imbued with elegance. The fine linen robe reveals the sovereign's anatomy, an embodiment of the feminine ideal under Ramesses II, the period during which the statuette was carved.

Ahmose-Nefertari, wife of Ahmose

The text running along the flat surface of the base gives the names and titles of Ahmose Nefertari, wife of Ahmose, founder of the 18th Dynasty sometime around 1500 BC: "The divine spouse of Amun, the great royal spouse, mistress of the Dual Lands, beloved of her father, Amun, mother of the king, Ahmose Nefertari, vibrant, young, eternal as Ra, forever." The queen is clad in a long, ample robe of fine linen, knotted under her right breast, and adorned with braids and fringe. Traces of red paint are still visible on her face, neck, the top of the base, and around the feet. Her hair, eyebrows, the outlines of the eyes, and the tip of her breasts were painted black. Bracelets were suggested by a strip of paint, which was probably red.

Royal attributes

Amhose Nefertari has the specific attributes of a queen: a vulture pelt and the circular base of a headdress (the upper part, now lost, must have consisted of two tall feathers); a supple floral scepter in her left hand; and probably a flower or an ankh (a sign of life) in her right hand, now empty. The sculptor's work is admirably subtle and accurate; he paid particular attention to the queen's anatomy under the light fabric of her clothing.

Deified and worshiped

During the reign of Amenophis III (1391-1353 BC), the great queen was deified by her son Amenophis I (1525-1504 BC). She became regent after the death of her husband, and with her son, united the political, economic, and religious aspects of the country after the troubled era of the Second Intermediate Period. She and her son formed an astonishing couple; they were both patrons and protectors of the city of Thebes. Various sanctuaries devoted to their exceptional posthumous cult have been unearthed in the Theban region.
Both were worshipped devoutly in Deir el-Medina, the city of craftsmen. The inhabitants of the village devoted a particular cult to these two and placed themselves under their benevolent protection. The statuette in the Louvre Museum is part of a group of 20 statuettes dispersed in major Egyptian museums. Djzhutyhermaketef lived in Deir el-Medina and worked as a quarryman during the reign of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC). He created this votive statue. We can therefore date this statuette to the 13th century BC.

Bibliography

Andreu Guillemette, La statuette d'Ahmès Néfertari, Paris, Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, coll. "Solo", n 8, 1997.
Andreu Guillemette, Rutschowscaya Marie-Hélène, Ziegler Christiane
(sous la dir. de), L'Égypte ancienne au Louvre, Paris, Éditions Hachette Littératures, 1997, pp. 154-156.
Andreu Guillemette (sous la dir. de), Les artistes de Pharaon :
Deir el-Médineh et la Vallée des Rois, cat. exp. Paris, musée du Louvre,
15 avril-22 juillet 2002, Bruxelles, Musées royaux d'art et d'histoire,
10 septembre 2002-12 janvier 2003, exposition co-organisée avec les Musées royaux d'art et d'histoire à Bruxelles, le Museo egizio et la Fondation Bricherasio à Turin, Paris, Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux
et Bruxelles, Brépols, 2002, pp. 260-262, notice 211.

Technical description

  • L'ancienne reine divinisée Ahmès Néfertari, protectrice des ouvriers des tombes royales

  • karité peint

    H. : 35,50 cm. ; L. : 7 cm. ; Pr. : 18 cm.

  • N 470

  • Egyptian Antiquities

    Sully wing
    1st floor
    The New Kingdom
    Room 28
    Vitrine 8 : Statues en bois

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