Ancient Egypt Wiki

Gilded mummy mask of Tjuyu, now in the Cairo Museum.©

Dynasty 18th Dynasty
Pharaoh(s) Thutmose IV
Amenhotep III
Titles Chief of the Harem of
Amun and Min
Chantress of Hathor
Spouse(s) Yuya
Issue Tiye, Anen, Ay (?),
Taemwadjes (?)
Burial KV46

Tjuyu (ancient Egyptian: ṯwỉw) was an ancient Egyptian noblewoman of the Eighteenth Dynasty during the New Kingdom.


See also: 18th Dynasty Family Tree.

Tjuyu is believed to be a descendant of Queen Ahmose-Nefertari.[citation needed] Tjuyu was married to Yuya, an Egyptian nobleman, who held high offices in the governmental and religious hierarchies. Their daughter, Tiye, became the Queen of Amenhotep III.[1] The King's Great Wife was the highest Egyptian religious position, serving alongside of the pharaoh in official ceremonies and rituals. Yuya and Tjuyu are known to have had a son named Anen, who carried the titles "Chancellor of Lower Egypt", "Second Prophet of Amun", "Sem Priest of Ra", and "God's Father".[2]

They may also have been the parents of Ay,[3] an Egyptian courtier active during the reign of Akhenaten, who eventually became pharaoh as Kheperkheperure Ay. There is no conclusive evidence, however, regarding the kinship of Yuya and Ay, although certainly both men came from the town of Panopolis.[4]


Tjuyu held many official roles in the interwoven religion and government of ancient Egypt. She was involved in many influential religious cults as her titles included; "Chantress of Hathor" and "Chief of the Entertainers of Amun of Thebes and Min of Panopolis".[5][6]


Yuya and his wife Tjuyu were buried in KV46, a rock-cut tomb in the Valley of the Kings. It was discovered in 1905 by James Quibell, who was working on behalf of Theodore M. Davis.[7][6] Although the tomb had been robbed in antiquity, the funerary furniture was largely intact[4] and there was no doubt as to the identity of the pair, who were found within their nests of coffins.[6]


Tjuyu's inner coffin.©Hans Ollermann

The tomb of Yuya and Tjuyu and its content was the most complete found in the Valley prior to the discovery of the KV62 tomb of Tutankhamun.[8] After which, it is the most spectacular ever found in the Valley of the Kings despite Yuya not being a pharaoh.

Tjuyu's large gilded and black-painted wooden sarcophagus was placed against the south wall of the tomb.[9] Rectangular and with a lid shaped like sloping roof the per-wer shrine of Upper Egypt, this sarcophagus sat on ornamental sledge runners, their non-functionality underscored by the three battens attached below them.[10] This sarcophagus had contained the two nested anthropoid coffins of Tjuyu. Ancient robbers had partially dismantled it, 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 though 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.[9]


The mummy of Tjuyu 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. The mummy bands that had once covered her wrapped mummy were recovered above the storage jars on the far side of the room.[9]


The mummy of Tjuyu.©

Tjuyu's mummy has the inventory number CG 51191.[11] 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, assisting Smith in his examination, exposed Tjuyu'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.[9]

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; 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.[12] Heavy wear and abscesses had been noted in earlier x-rays.[13] The scan revealed that she had severe scoliosis with a Cobb angle of 25 degrees. No cause of death could be determined.[12]

Both the mummies of Yuya and Tjuyu were largely intact and were in an amazing state of preservation. Their faces in particular were relatively undistorted by the process of mummification, and provide an extraordinary insight into the actual appearance of the deceased while alive.


  1. Rice 1999, p. 207.
  2. Rice 1999, p. 20.
  3. Rice 1999, p. 222.
  4. 4.0 4.1 David & David 1992, p. 167.
  5. Tyldesley 2006. p. 116.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Aldred 1989, p. 96.
  7. Davis et al. 1907.
  8. Reeves & Wilkinson 2010, p. 174–178.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Quibell & Smith 1908.
  10. Ikram & Dodson 1998, p. 259.
  11. Habicht et al. 2016.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Hawass & Saleem 2016, p. 68–71.
  13. Harris & weeks 1973, p. 141–142.


  • Aldred, C., 1989: Akhenaten, King of Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.
  • David, A.E./David, R., 1992: A Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. Seaby, London.
  • Davis, T.M./Maspero, G./Newberry, P.E., 1907: The Tomb of Iouiya and Touiyou. Archibald Constable and Co., London.
  • Habicht, M./Rühli, F./Bouwman, A., 2016: Identification of Ancient Egyptian Royal Mummies from the 18th Dynasty reconsidered. American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
  • Ikram, S./Dodson, A., 1998: The Mummy in Ancient Egypt: Equipping the Dead for Eternity. (Hardcover ed.). Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Quibell, J.E./Smith, G.E., 1908: Tomb of Yuaa and Thuiu. Le Caire Impremerie De L'Institut Francais D'Archeologie Orientale.
  • Reeves, N./Wilkinson, R.H., 2010: The Complete Valley of the Kings: Tombs and Treasures of Egypt's Greatest Pharaohs (Paperback reprint ed.). Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Rice, M., 1999: Who's Who in Ancient Egypt. Routledge, London.