Thutmose and Isis

Wall painting in the tomb of Thutmose III, ca. 15th century B.C.E., KV34 Thebes.

This wall painting is from the tomb of Thutmose III, the 6th pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. Thutmose III created the largest empire Egypt had ever seen, expanding north to Syria and south to Nubia. The first written reference to Megiddo, know in the New Testament as Armageddon, is an account of the 1479 B.C.E. invasion by Thutmose III.

The reign of Thutmose saw great stylistic changes in the sculpture, paintings, and reliefs associated with construction, much of it beginning during the reign of his regent Hatshepsut. Thutmose's artisans achieved new heights of skill in painting, and tombs from his reign were the earliest to be entirely painted, instead of painted reliefs. In Thutmoses’ own tomb the walls are covered with the complete text of the Amduat, an important New Kingdom funerary text. The coloring of the walls is muted, executed in simple black line drawings accompanied by text on a cream background with highlights in red and pink. The simplicity of the drawing contrasts beautifully with the rich blue night sky with stars on the ceiling. In this section of the wall Thutmose is being nursed at the breast of his mother Isis in the form of a sycamore tree symbolizing his rebirth in the land of the dead.


A powerful ancient Egyptian goddess whose purview included maternity, magic, and the Pharaoh's lineage.

A sequence of rulers from the same family.

A broad, diverse group of nations ruled by the government of a single nation.

The Pharaoh of Egypt from 1479-1458 B.C.E. She had a notably successful reign, commissioning numerous building projects and establishing trade networks.

A collection of first-century Jewish and early Christian writings that, along with the Old Testament, makes up the Christian Bible.

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