From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Tjuyu)
Thuya's mask
Gilded cartonnage mask of Thuya in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo
Other namesThuyu, Tjuyu
ChildrenTiye and Anen, possibly Ay
RelativesAkhenaten (grandson)
Egyptian hieroglyphs

Thuya (sometimes transliterated as Touiyou,[1] Thuiu,[2] Tuya,[3] Tjuyu or Thuyu) was an Egyptian noblewoman and the mother of queen Tiye, and the wife of Yuya. She is the grandmother of Akhenaten, and great grandmother of Tutankhamun.


Thuya is believed to be a descendant of Queen Ahmose-Nefertari, and she held many official roles in the interwoven religion and government of ancient Egypt. She was involved in many religious cults; her titles included 'Singer of Hathor' and 'Chief of the Entertainers' of both Amun and Min.[4] She also held the influential offices of Superintendent of the Harem of the god Min of Akhmin and of Amun of Thebes.[5] She married Yuya, a powerful ancient Egyptian courtier of the Eighteenth Dynasty. She is believed to have died in around 1375 BC in her early to mid 50s.


Yuya and Thuya had a daughter named Tiye, who became the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. The great royal wife was the highest Egyptian religious position, serving alongside of the pharaoh in official ceremonies and rituals.

Yuya and Thuya also had a son named Anen, who carried the titles Chancellor of Lower Egypt, Second Prophet of Amun, sm-priest of Heliopolis and Divine Father.[6]

They also may have been the parents of Ay,[7] an Egyptian courtier active during the reign of pharaoh Akhenaten who became pharaoh after the death of Tutankhamun. However, there is no conclusive evidence regarding the kinship of Yuya and Ay, although certainly, both men came from Akhmim.[8]


The mummy of Thuya

Thuya was interred in tomb KV46 in the Valley of the Kings, together with her husband Yuya, where their largely intact burial was found in 1905. It was the best-preserved tomb discovered in the Valley before that of Tutankhamun, Thuya's great-grandson.[9] The tomb was discovered by a team of workmen led by archaeologist James Quibell on behalf of the American millionaire Theodore M. Davis.[1][2] Though the tomb had been robbed in antiquity, much of its contents were still present, including beds, boxes, chests, a chariot, and the sarcophagi, coffins, and mummies of the two occupants.[2]

Thuya's large gilded and black-painted wooden sarcophagus was placed against the south wall of the tomb.[2] It is rectangular, with a lid shaped like the sloping roof of the per-wer shrine of Upper Egypt, and sits on ornamental sledge runners, their non-functionality underscored by the three battens attached below them.[10] Ancient robbers had partially dismantled it to access her coffins and mummy, placing its lid and one long side on a bed on the other side of the tomb; the other long side had been leaned against the south wall. Her outer gilded anthropoid coffin had been removed, its lid placed atop the beds, and the trough put into the far corner of the tomb; the lid of her second (innermost) coffin, also gilded, had been removed and placed to one side although the trough and her mummy remained inside the sarcophagus. Quibell suggests this is due to the robbers having some difficulty in removing the lid of this coffin.[2]


Thuya's mummified body was found covered with a large sheet of linen, knotted at the back and secured by four bandages. These bands were covered with resin and opposite each band were her gilded titles cut from gold foil. The resin coating on the lower layers of bandages preserved the impression of a large broad collar.[11] The mummy bands that had once covered her wrapped mummy were recovered above the storage jars on the far side of the room.[2]

The first examination of her body was conducted by Australian anatomist Grafton Elliot Smith. He found her to be an elderly woman of small stature, 1.495 metres (4.90 ft) in height, with white hair. Both of her earlobes had two piercings. Her arms are straight at her sides with her hands against the outside of her thighs. Her embalming incision is stitched with thread, to which a carnelian barrel bead is attached at the lower end; her body cavity is stuffed with resin-soaked linen. When Dr. Douglas Derry, (who later conducted the first examination of Tutankhamun's mummy) assisting Smith in his examination, exposed Thuya's feet to get an accurate measurement of her height, he found her to be wearing gold foil sandals. Smith estimated her age at more than 50 years based on her outward appearance alone.[11] Recent CT scanning has estimated her age at death to be 50–60 years old. Her brain was removed, though no embalming material was inserted, and both nostrils were stuffed with linen. Embalming packs had been placed into her eye sockets, and subcutaneous filling had been placed into her mid and lower face to restore a lifelike appearance;[12] embalming material had also been placed into her mouth and throat. Her teeth were in poor condition at the time of her death, with missing molars.[13] Heavy wear and abscesses had been noted in earlier x-rays.[14] The scan revealed that she had severe scoliosis with a Cobb angle of 25 degrees. No cause of death could be determined.[13] Her mummy has the inventory number CG 51191.[15]

Archaeological items pertaining to Thuya[edit]


  1. ^ a b Davis, Theodore M.; Maspero, G.; Newberry, Percy E. (1907). The Tomb of Iouiya and Touiyou. London: Archibald Constable and Co. pp. XXV–XXX. ISBN 0-7156-2963-8.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Quibell, J. E.; Smith, Grafton Elliot (1908). Tomb of Yuaa and Thuiu. Le Caire Impremerie De L'Institut Francais D'Archeologie Orientale. pp. I–VII.
  3. ^ Rice, Michael (1999). Who's Who In Ancient Egypt By Michael Rice By Samy Salah (2004 ed.). London: Routledge. p. 223. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  4. ^ Tyldesley, Joyce. Chronicles of the Queens of Egypt. Thames & Hudson, 2006. p.116
  5. ^ Cyril Aldred: Akhenaten, King of Egypt Thames and Hudson, 1989. p.96
  6. ^ Rice, Michael (1999). Who's Who in Ancient Egypt. Routledge, p.20
  7. ^ Rice, p.222
  8. ^ David, Anthony, E. and Rosalie David. A Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. London: Seaby, 1992. p.167
  9. ^ Reeves, Nicholas; Wilkinson, Richard H. (2010). The Complete Valley of the Kings: Tombs and Treasures of Egypt's Greatest Pharaohs (Paperback reprint ed.). London: Thames & Hudson. pp. 174–178. ISBN 978-0-500-28403-2.
  10. ^ Ikram, Salima; Dodson, Aidan (1998). The Mummy in Ancient Egypt: Equipping the Dead for Eternity (Hardcover ed.). London: Thames and Hudson. p. 259. ISBN 0-500-05088-0.
  11. ^ a b Quibell, J. E.; Smith, Grafton Elliot (1908). Tomb of Yuaa and Thuiu. Le Caire Impremerie De L'Institut Francais D'Archeologie Orientale. pp. 68–73.
  12. ^ Saleem, Sahar N.; Hawass, Zahi (February 2015). "Subcutaneous Packing in Royal Egyptian Mummies Dated From 18th to 20th Dynasties". Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography. 39 (3): 301–306. doi:10.1097/RCT.0000000000000205. PMID 25695867. S2CID 26076919.
  13. ^ a b Hawass, Zahi; Saleem, Sahar N. (2016). Scanning the Pharaohs: CT Imaging of the New Kingdom Royal Mummies. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press. pp. 71–74. ISBN 978-977-416-673-0.
  14. ^ Harris, James E.; Weeks, Kent R. (1973). X-Raying the Pharaohs. London: Macdonald and Company (Publishers) Ltd. pp. 141–142.
  15. ^ Habicht, M.E; Bouwman, A.S; Rühli, F.J (25 January 2016). "Identifications of ancient Egyptian royal mummies from the 18th Dynasty reconsidered". Yearbook of Physical Anthropology. 159 (S61): 216–231. doi:10.1002/ajpa.22909. PMID 26808107.

External links[edit]