Egyptian Figures: Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife of Akhenaten
Nefertiti (c. 1370 BC – c. 1330 BC) was the Great Royal Wife (chief consort) of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti and her husband were known for a religious revolution, in which they started to worship one god only. This was Aten, or the sun disc.
Nefertiti had many titles; for example, at Karnak are inscriptions that read Heiress, Great of Favours, Possessed of Charm, Exuding Happiness, Mistress of Sweetness, Beloved One, Soothing the King’s Heart in His House, Soft-spoken in All, Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt, Great King’s Wife, Whom He Loves, Lady of the Two Lands, Nefertiti.
She was made famous by her bust, now in Berlin’s Neues Museum, shown to the right. The bust is one of the most copied works of ancient Egypt. It was attributed to the sculptor Thutmose, and it was found in his workshop. The bust is notable for exemplifying the understanding Ancient Egyptians had regarding realistic facial proportions. Some scholars believe that Nefertiti ruled briefly after her husband’s death and before the accession of Tutankhamun as Smenkhkare, although this identification is a matter of ongoing debate.