Queen Maatkare Hatshepsut is one of the most remarkable women in Egyptian history. After Nefertiti and Cleopatra, she is the one who appeals most to our imagination. Hatshepsut was the wife of Pharaoh Thutmosis II. After the latter’s death the child of his concubine Isis was proclaimed Pharaoh,Thutmosis III. Hatshepsut acted as governor for him. In the seventh year of Thutmosis’ reign she had herself proclaimed Pharaoh as well. Her most loyal ally was Senenmut, top minister and educator of her daughter Nefrure. He also created her funerary temple in Deir el-Bahri.
Hatshepsut ruled for 21 years. During the 22nd year of Thutmosis III’s reign she disappeared from the scene. Excavations by the American Winlock yielded a number of her temple statues, most of which proved to be damaged. The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden possesses a torso fragment of one of these temple statues. It was acquired by Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands (1820-1879) in 1869 and donated to the museum in 1928 by queen-mother Emma.
It was not until later that the site Winlock discovered yielded the other parts of the statue, like the head, the legs and the throne, and these are now in the possession of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In 1998 the separate parts of the statue were put together again, after nearly 3500 years, and nowadays the statue is on view alternately in Leiden and in New York. Hatshepsut is wearing the royal headcloth or nemes. The inscription on the back pillar reads ‘The Good Goddess Maatkare’.