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Current time:0:00Total duration:3:16

Portrait head of Queen Tiye with a crown of two feathers

Video transcript

[Music] one of the most interesting women in all of Egyptian history began her life as the daughter of a bureaucrat but would marry the Pharaoh of Egypt she would then be demoted upon his death and would simply be the Queen Mother but her son would then elevate her status substantially making her divine making her a goddess so much of that history can be seen in this tiny sculpture of Queen ta there's a clear sense of her nobility even though she began in a relatively modest way as a commoner although with fairly high status she looks out and past us here and there's no doubt she's a queen she's completely unapproachable and we may also be getting a sense here of what she looked like there seemed to be some individual characteristics she seems to be a little bit older we can see lines extending below her nose on either side of her cheek and there are some distinctive facial characteristics so perhaps we have a little bit of a window into what she really looked like the face and neck are made out of you wood this beautiful dark wood the eyes are made out of Ebony and alabaster and then there's some other materials as well gold and some of the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli is visible just under that headdress that seems to have been chipped away that's right what we're seeing are in fact evidence of these changes in Tia's life underneath a dress that we see her in now would have been a gold headdress that signified her status as the Queen as the wife of the Pharaoh and we can also see that in the two gold clips that we see on the forehead that are evidence of where that crown would have been worn there would have been a cobra placed there the insignia of royalty that was presumably removed when her husband died and she actually fell in status to that of Queen Mother but she was so important and so smart and her son depended on her so much that in order to have her be able to actively participate in politics and the affairs of the royal court he elevated her status to one of a goddess and that's when this headdress would have been added this would have been spectacular when it was first made now it simply looks a little bulbous but if you look a little bit to the back right of the skull you can just make out some brilliant blue fianc beads that catch the light and really shimmer that would have covered the entire headdress and so she would have looked regal and almost celestial appropriate to a goddess her headdress extends upward where we see horns a solar disk and two feathers now that solar disk may refer to the religion founded by her son Akhenaten Akhenaten got rid of Egypt's traditional polytheistic religion and established a monotheistic religion centered around Archon who was symbolized by the Sun this sculpture really does give us a sense of her importance her power her son's respect for her and gives us just a little glimpse into the complexity of Egyptian life at this high station [Music]