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Work Statuette of Tuy, Superior of the Harem of the god Min

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

La dame Touy, supérieure du harem du dieu Min

© 2008 Musée du Louvre / Christian Décamps

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

Author(s):
Aït-Kaci Lili

The statuette of Tuy is carved from two species of wood that the Egyptians imported from the south - shea wood for the base, and African grenadilla for the lady herself.
There are offering formulae on the back pillar and the base, dedicated to Osiris, Isis and "all the Gods who are in the West (necropolis)". In the afterlife, Tuy was thus expected to enjoy the food and floral offerings adorning the front of the base.

Chantress of the god Min

Tuy was a chantress of Min, and superior of his harem; she was thus an important person in Akhmim (the god's cult center) and in Thebes (the capital city, where Min was associated with the dynastic god Amun).
She is portrayed standing, with her left foot forward and her right arm by her side; the perforation in her right hand suggests that she once held an object, perhaps a floral scepter. With her left hand, she clasps a menat necklace (a tool of her office) between her breasts.
The dedication to the great gods of the necropolis and the food offerings engraved on the base suggest that this statuette featured among the grave goods in Tuy's tomb. The text and offerings guaranteed her survival and protection in the afterlife.

A beauty from the reign of Amenophis III

Tuy's figure typifies the art of the reign of Amenophis III - and is one of its most perfect examples. With her small round face, almond-shaped eyes, and full lips, she resembles certain portraits of Tiy, Great Wife of Amenophis III. Her round bosom and high waist emphasize the length and slenderness of her body, with its narrow hips and slightly protruding belly. The strong curve of her thighs compensates for the extreme slimness of her legs.

Dress and accessories

These contribute to the elegance of the work as a whole. The way the dress is arranged over the folded arm creates a radiate pattern of pleats that highlights Tuy's body. A trim, perhaps a ribbon, accentuates the fit of her floor-length dress. A broad collar with four rows of pendants adorns her breast.
Her most impressive accessory is her heavy wig. Despite its volume, it does not detract from her slender figure thanks to its delicately-carved details: the slight frizz of each braid, ending in a twist, and the precision of the three braids at the back of the wig, standing out against the mass of gently waving hair.

Bibliography

Ziegler et Bovot, L'Égypte ancienne, 2001, pp. 194-195, fig. 100.

Catalogue Coptos, L'Égypte antique aux portes du désert, 2000, p. 85, p. 228, notice 54.

David Aménophis III, Beaux-Arts, hors série, 1993, p. 15.

Catalogue Aménophis III, Le Pharaon Soleil, 1993, pp. 220-221.

Delange, Trésors du plus grand musée du monde, 1991, p. 75.

Technical description

  • La dame Touy, supérieure du harem du dieu Min

  • bois de grenadille d'Afrique, socle en karité ?

    H. : 33,40 cm. ; L. : 8 cm. ; Pr. : 17 cm.

  • E 10655

  • Egyptian Antiquities

    Sully wing
    1st floor
    The New Kingdom
    Room 24
    Vitrine 10 : Les contemporains d'Aménophis III

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