The Tomb of Tyti (Titi) in the Valley of the Queens (QV 52)
by John Watson
The tomb of Tyti, designated QV 52, is located on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes) in the area known as the Valley of the Queens. The tomb is somewhat smaller in scale than many other royal tombs of the 20th Dynasty, and has been considerably damaged by later reuse.
Though we are not positive what position Tyti held within the Ramesside royal court, we believe that she may have been a wife of Ramesses III, and may have also been his daughter. It is also thought that she may have even been the mother of Amenherkhepshef, who is buried nearby her tomb in the Valley of the Queens, and might have also been the mother of Ramesses IV. Her tomb shares a number of common features with the tomb of Amenkherkhepshef (QV 55), and also that of Khaemwaset (QV 44). The decorative program of her tomb is identical in many stances and, as in those tombs, colorfully painted figures are set against a background of white or grey, although in some scenes, the background color changes to near yellow.
One intriguing feature of the tomb is the way in which Tyti is depicted. In some scenes, such as those on the front wall of one of the rear chambers, she is a young girl wearing the costume and braided hair style of a teenager. Then, for example in the corridor on the left wall, she is represented as a middle aged woman, dressed more conservatively and with a hint of make-up. These sorts of representations are not common in Egyptian art, and the contrast between the younger woman and the older one are striking.
The tomb of Tyti takes the form of a corridor followed by a burial chamber that in turn is surrounded by side chambers. On the entrance jambs leading to the first corridor are given the titles of some texts about the queen. Within the corridor, on the left wall, beyond a broken figure of a kneeling, winged Ma'at, Tyti appears in a damaged scene worshipping Ptah, who is standing in a shrine. To the right of this, the queen holds two sistra before Re-Harakhty, and stands in adoration before Imsety, Duamutef (Sons of Horus) and Isis. On the right wall, once again we find a winged Ma'at, and Tyti worshipping Thoth. Holding two sistra, she also stands before Atum, and worships Hapy, Qebensenuef and Nephthys.
In the burial chamber, the ceiling is adorned with delicate white stars on a golden background. On the right side of the front wall, Anubis and what appears to be a very relaxed lion protect Tyti's tomb. On the left side, a lion-headed Nebnery stands in front of Queen Tyti in the form of the squatting youth, Herima'at. These scenes are the same as those in the Tomb of Khaemwaset, though here they are less well preserved.
On the left wall, below several columns of text, stand two baboons and a monkey with a bow. Beyond a gate, a damaged scene of Hememet Genii depicted as a vulture, a hippopotamus and a frontally drawn human figure, each holds a pair of knives.
On the right wall are badly damaged figures of guardians flanking the doorway. An anonymous bird-headed genie at the right end of the wall still retains much of its original color.
On the left side of the rear wall, Tyti holds sistra before Imsety and Duamutef, while on the right, she holds two rolls of papyrus around which are coiled cobras representing Upper and Lower Egypt. Here, she stands before the gods Hapy and Qebehsenuef. Above them, two boats hold small shrines.
A doorway on the left side of the burial chamber leads into a low, square side chamber. Here, side walls depict Tyti before the Four Sons of Horus, while on the back wall a few traces remain of a badly destroyed scene representing Osiris. The floor of the chamber has collapsed into a passage that leads to the tomb's burial chamber.
On the right side of the burial chamber, another doorway leads into a second side chamber with better preserved decorations. On the left wall three demons with the heads of jackals, a snake and a crocodile stand near four canopic chests. The presence of these boxes evidence that the room was used for the storage of the queen's canopic equipment. On the right wall, three more demons stand with the souls of Pe and Nekhen.
The rear wall of this side chamber is particularly interesting. At left, the goddess Hathor, depicted as a cow, emerges from a well-painted mountain while at right, in a scene that is now largely destroyed, Tyti adores a sycamore fig tree in which Hathor resides.
A third chamber that opens from the rear of the central burial chamber also has some well preserved decorations. On the front wall, figures of Tyti stand on either side of the doorway in poses of worship. On the left wall stand the Four Sons of Horus, and in a lower register, before offering tables piled high with bread and ewers below, sit mummiform figures of Geb, Nut, Nefertum and Harhekenu.
The right wall of this chamber also depicts the four sons and the mummiform seated figures of Hu, Sia, Shu and Tefnut. On the back wall, Nephthys and Thoth, to the left, and Neith and Serqet, to the right, pay tribute to enthroned figures of Osiris.