Exhibitions: Pharaohs, Queens, and Goddesses

Queen Nefertiti

Queen Nefertiti. Egypt, Temple of Aten, Karnak (?). Early reign of Akhenaten, c. 1352–1348 B.C. Sandstone. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Christos G. Bastis, 78.39

Nefertiti was Akhenaten's principal queen and mother of his six daughters. Her importance as a leading figure in the Amarna religious revolution (1352–1332 B.C.) that taught a form of monotheism, is undisputed. Nefertiti here wears the Uraeus snake on her forehead and receives life from the hand of the god Aten, two attributes usually associated only with kings. When this work was complete, she stood at Akhenaten's side as together they worshipped the Aten, their one god. Scholars dispute whether she ruled independently for three years after Akhenaten's death. The date of her death is uncertain as is her relationship with Smenkare and Tutankhamun, the two succeeding kings. In spite of her successors attempts to eradicate her memory, today she is the most widely recognized of Egypt's queens.

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