It is extremely odd that Ankhesenamen, Sweet of Love, Great of Praises, etc..., is not pictured on the walls of Tutankhamen's tomb. However, one must recall that it was Ay who was in charge of the decoration of the tomb (which, by the way, he IS featured on; as the new Pharaoh performing the Opening of the Mouth upon Tutankhamen's mummy), and it was done in a very short time.

Ankhesenamen is featured quite prominently in the tomb, however. Her name appears with Tutankhamen's upon many boxes and chests in the tomb. Her name and image are also present on many personal objects for her young husband's tomb; the most touching of which is the "Little Golden Shrine," but that is not the only artistic representation of Nefertiti's third daughter. Ankhesenamen also appears on the famed golden throne of Tutankhamen, and twice on a lovely chest (one of my favorite items from the tomb). Many have also suggested that she was the model for the Isis, Selket, Neith, and Nephthys statues that protected Tutankhamen's canopic shrine. Let's look at some of these images...

The Little Golden ShrineThe "Little Golden Shrine" is small indeed. It stands only about 1' 7.75" (50.5 cm) high, is 10.5 " (26.5cm) wide, and 1' .5" (32cm) deep. It is made of wood overlaid in gold foil, and is mounted on a silver incased sledge. It features 18 scenes of the royal couple. Some have suggested that it has 'ritual purposes', perhaps a commoration of the coronation. Mr. Nicholas Reeves suggests that the scenes portrayed the "role played by Ankhesenamun in the continued existence and sustenance of her husband in the next world" (Reeves, The Complete Tutankhamun). However, nowhere is the King referred to as "True of Voice" or "Justified" upon the Little Golden Shrine; those were the standard appellations for the dead. If it was contructed for the King's burial, surely he would have been referred to as such. Another suggestion, (from Bob Brier, author of the controversial The Murder of Tutankhamen) is that it was a gift to Tutankhamen from his wife: "her love letter written in gold." Although the hopeless romantic in my wants to believe that, the true purpose of the Little Golden Shrine may never be clear to modern eyes.

Another famous image of Tutankhamen and Ankhesenamen is that from the golden throne of the boy-king. The Golden Throne is 3' 5" (1.04m) high. It is made of wood overlaid with gold leaf (and some silver!). It is inlaid with various colored glasses and semi-precious stones, as well as faience. It, along with Tutankhamen's mask, is one of the most recognizable objects from the tomb (one of my world history teachers had a big poster of it... I almost asked her for it at the end of the year).

Some suggest that Tutankhamen and Ankhesenamen were not the couple originally portrayed on the throne. Some evidence of this is that Ankhesenamen's wig has been altered: her ribbon does not attach as it should. Also, the names have been altered in some of the inscriptions. However, these changes could represent that abandonment of Atenism; their names changed from Tutankhaten and Ankhesenpaaten to Tutankhamen and Ankhesenamen; and the queen's wig may have been adjusted since, as a daughter of Akhenaten, her head may have been portrayed as elongated, perhaps the return to orthodoxy also marked the return of Ankhesenpaaten/Ankhesenamen's head to a normal shape.

Ahh... the image that really got me interested in Tutankhamen, Ankhesenamen, and the Amarna period in general. Not only do I adore the colors, but the image is so sweet! Tutankhamen gently leans on a walking stick (some think that portryals of him with walking sticks -- along with number present in his tomb -- hint that the young king was ill. Maybe he just collected them?) and raises a hand to his wife in greeting. Ankhesenamen (who is wearing a very nifty wig), offers flowers to her husband, again possibly as symbols of love.

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