Andrea Jemolo

Queen Ankhesenamun, the wife of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (1336‒1327 B.C.E.), massages her husband with salve in this 40-inch-high image. This tender scene was created with gold-leaf, multicolored glass paste and semi-precious stones on the back of a wooden throne, which was found by British archaeologist Howard Carter in King Tut’s tomb. Taking an unusual pose in Egyptian art, the king and queen look directly at one another, perhaps even into one another’s eyes, instead of looking stiffly out at the viewer. This may suggest that the artist depicted the husband and wife as preparing to make love in the afterlife—for according to ancient Egyptian beliefs, men could only achieve immortality by recreating themselves, through intercourse, beyond the grave.