Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2022

Department 1



The Pharaoh Hatshepsut is one of the most well-known rulers of ancient Egypt and she has fascinated historians for decades. She ruled Egypt during the 15th century BCE, coming to power after the death of her husband, Thutmose II. Hatshepsut is particularly interesting to historians due to how she was portrayed in her art. Due to how far in the past she ruled, not many pieces of her art have survived; however, in the objects that we do have she is often shown very androgynously or even in came cases distinctly masculine. My research focuses on the many theories as to why she chose to do this including: that it was politically motivated; that it was an expression of her gender identity as well as society’s view on gender; or that it was a product of their religion. The most likely answer to this question was that it was a combination of all three. Egyptians did not believe in the gender binary mainly due to their religion and the existence of an androgynous god, Amun. Hatshepsut felt very connected to Amun and even claimed that Amun had designated her as the next ruler of Egypt. Most Pharaohs connected themselves to a god for political reasons, and Hatshepsut was no different. While there was definitely a religious aspect to her connection with Amun, she also used it for political reasons and to increase her legitimacy as a ruler. Hatshepsut chose to portray herself androgynously to further connection of Amun and show herself as a strong legitimate leader.


Written for ARTH 400: Seminar in Art History