Representation of Ahms-Nefertari in a Theban Tomb


Let’s again have another opportunity to adore the land of Egypt, the magic land. Here I want to share with you about Ahmose-Nefertari, “The Wife of the God”.

Ahmose-Nefertari was the first Egyptian queen to hold the title of “God’s First Wife of Amun”.

Ahmose-Nefertari (Ancient Egyptian: Jꜥḥ ms Nfr trj) was the first Great Royal Wife of the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. She was a daughter of Seqenenre Tao and Ahhotep I, and royal sister and wife to Ahmose I. Her son Amenhotep I became pharaoh and she may have served as his regent when he was young. Ahmose-Nefertari was deified after her death. Wikipedia

Pharaoh Amenhotep I with his mother Queen Ahmose-Nefertari. (18th dynasty of Egypt) Scan from old book Culturgeschichte by K. Faulmann (1881).
By see above, Public Domain,

Was Queen Ahmose Nefertari the mother of Ancient Egypt’s glittering 18th dynasty? The 17th dynasty in Ancient Egypt was a time of turmoil and conflict. It was a time in Egypt known as the Second Intermediate Period when Lower Egypt was ruled by a group of invaders called the Hyksos, who were an Asiatic people. They were also known as ‘the Shepherd Kings” or “Desert Princes.” It was the Hyksos that introduced the chariot and the horse into Egypt. The Hyksos had initially infiltrated the Eastern Delta and created their capital at Avaris. They extended their rule as far as Middle Egypt, but never gained control of Lower Egypt which remained under the control of the Kings in Thebes. It was the last couple of these Theban Kings of the 17th dynasty who went to war and expelled the Hyksos invaders. But one of the truly remarkable things about this period is some of the strong and talented women who helped to rule the country and defeat the invaders, (more here)

As we see, the feminine part of the human being has left a strong influence on our history. This is an important issue, from which we can learn a lot.

Here are details of this artistic silhouette of the Wife of Amun: The Goddess. By Marie Grillot, with heartfelt thanks. 🙏💖

Représentation d’Ahmès-Nefertari dans une tombe thébaine


Polychrome fragment representing Queen Ahmes-Nefertari from a Theban tomb – painted clay
XXth Dynasty – Reign of Ramses VIII – Provenance: Tomb of Kynebou – el-Khokha – Thebes – TT 113
Acquired from Robert James Hay in 1868 by the British Museum – EA37994
museum photo © The Trustees of the British Museum

The silhouette of Queen Ahmes-Nefertari stands out against a blue-grey background and seems to be shrouded in foliage: perhaps she is represented under a canopy, or an arbour, from which bind bindweed twigs fall. Indeed the “Convolvulus” took, in the Pharaonic era, a function not only nourishing but also protective. “At the late Ramesside period, we see forms of ‘convolvulus’ with five lobes, surrounding royal personalities”, specify Frédéric Dupont and Cyril Malouet in their study on this plant.

The sovereign, turned to her right, is recognizable by her black skin. “If we tried to explain this black colour in the past, by the fact that the queen must have been Nubian, we know it since that this thesis was rejected by the examination of her mummy, whose white pigmentation of the skin shows, that ‘ she was not from this region. “specifies Christian Leblanc in his” Queens of the Nile “.

Florence Quentin (“The Great Sovereigns of Egypt”) analyzes the representations of Ahmès-Nefertari as follows: “She is represented with a complexion declined in shades ranging from the deepest black to green or dark red, one of her distinctive marks – venerated in this seemingly obscure, even dark aspect, for she is none other in the eyes of her successors, but one of the manifestations of the Great Mother protecting her children beyond death, just as much as the goddess of rebirth, the embodiment of fertility, like the fertilizing silt of the Nile “.

Polychrome fragment representing Queen Ahmes-Nefertari from a Theban tomb – painted clay
XXth Dynasty – Reign of Ramses VIII – Provenance: Tomb of Kynebou – el-Khokha – Thebes – TT 113
Acquired from Robert James Hay in 1868 by the British Museum – EA37994
museum photo © The Trustees of the British Museum

In front of her face is drawn her cartridge. Her tripartite wig is covered with the remains of a vulture, the headdress of the royal mothers, surmounted by a mortar in which are stuck two straight feathers against which is plated, at the base, a red solar disk.

Her dark complexion meant that the artist had to “adapt” her colours; thus the eyebrows, the eyes, the lips, the folds of the neck, as well as her earrings and bracelets are treated in white.

She is adorned with a large ousekh necklace, which uses the same tones as her headdress. They are also found in the flexible vegetable sceptre that she squeezes with her right hand, arm folded under her breast. His left-hand embraces a lotus stem with a blooming flower, a symbol of rebirth.

She is dressed in a long, loose-fitting white linen dress, the transparency of which hints at her shapes, the contours of which are traced in red. The garment, which has sleeves ending at the elbow, appears to be pleated at the top. It is attached under the chest by a belt that falls in two coloured sections: one in shades of blue with white and blue circular patterns and the other, red with almost identical patterns but slightly larger. And, the charming and lovely detail: the end of each side ends with the pattern and colour of the other …

Polychrome fragment representing Queen Ahmes-Nefertari from a Theban tomb – painted clay
XXth Dynasty – Reign of Ramses VIII – Provenance: Tomb of Kynebou – el-Khokha – Thebes – TT 113
Acquired from Robert James Hay in 1868 by the British Museum – EA37994
museum photo © The Trustees of the British Museum

“Ahmes-Nefertari is shown here in a flowing, pleated dress; typical of depictions of elite women from the Ramesside period. (circa 1295-1069 BC) rather than how long the queen was alive. She wears the vulture headdress of the goddess Mut, wife of Amun of Thebes, surmounted by a solar disk and ostrich feathers. The cobra on her crown and the flail in one hand indicates her royal status. The lotus flower was often held by deceased women, representing the rebirth: “specifies the British Museum”.

This fragment of the scene, measuring 45 cm by 20 cm, is incomplete. It comes from the Theban tomb TT 113, which is precisely in the sector of el-Khokha. Its owner, Kynebou, was an ouab priest of the secrets of the domain of Amun. He exercised his functions during the reign of Ramses VIII, and the representation of the queen, deified in her tomb, is the testimony that she was still venerated, alongside Amenhotep I, four centuries after their death.

The Porter & Moss states: “The tomb is now largely destroyed; this register is shown intact, in a drawing by Robert Hay (BL Addmss 29822 f. 117): the owner of the tomb makes offerings to Amenhotep I, Ahmose Nefertari (in a sanctuary), and a Djed-clad pillar “.

Ahmès-Nefertari represented here in the tomb of Ameneminet – TT 277 – Gurnet-Muraï

In “Twelve queens of Egypt”, Pierre Tallet brings these interesting details on the representations of the sovereign in Thebes: “We record her presence in forty-eight Theban tombs, and she appears on several occasions in the bas-reliefs of Karnak, memorial temples of Seti I and Ramses II on the west bank. There are still about twenty votive statues in his image and many mentions of him in jewellery, graffiti, ostraca. In all of this material, Ahmès Néfertari is regularly mentioned with her titles of a royal wife and royal mother: She also appears as ‘the Wife of the God’ and takes on the aspect of a divinity who borrows from Hathor some of her distinctive features, working for the protection of the dead in the afterlife “.

This fragment (along with two others) was acquired in 1868 from Robert James Hay by the British Museum, where it is exhibited under the reference EA37994.

Marie Grillot



Reines du Nil, Christian Leblanc, The Library of the Untraceable, 2009

The great sovereigns of Egypt, Florence Quentin, Perrin, 2021

12 queens of Egypt who changed history, Pierre Tallet


Interpretation of the “convolvulus” of Egyptologists by Cynanchum acutum L. (Asclepiadaceae), Frédéric Dupont & Cyril Malouet

9 thoughts on “Representation of Ahms-Nefertari in a Theban Tomb

  1. “Wife of God” What a title! Could this be another name for the Goddess Sophia I wonder? Thank you so much Aladin for sharing Marie’s Egyptian loving art and heart! I know a few of the Greeks myths which I love so much but know hardly any Egyptian myths. Hope your weekend is going well my lovely friend. Love and light, Deborah.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. elainemansfield

    Thanks for the story. I always imagined she was Nubian, but now see her skin color in a more symbolic way. I’m still fascinated by the changing skin tones and what this might mean. Thanks for adding to my knowledge and I always love the images. I’m grateful for the beautiful tomb art and statues from Egypt. And the desert preserves so much detail. With gratitude.

    Liked by 1 person

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