QUEEN TIYE, Ghurab, Egypt, 18th Dynasty
The miniature head of Queen Tiye, mother of Akhenaton, is a moving portrait of old age. Although not of royal birth, Tiye was the daughter of a high ranking official and became the chief wife of Amenhotep III. Tiye appears as an older woman with lines and furrows, consistent with the new relaxation of artistic rules in the Amarna age. Her portrait is carved of dark yew wood, possibly to match her complexion. The sculptor inlaid her heavy-lidded slanting eyes with alabaster and ebony, and painted the lips red.