(Tapsais, Tnaphersais) Tapshay’s name means ‘She who is of fate/destiny’ [shai]; it is also found in the form Tnaphersais [Tanefershay], meaning ‘She who is good for fate/destiny’ and her consort is Tutu. She was unknown until a temple dedicated to her and Tutu was discovered at Kellis in the Dakhla oasis. Included among the finds was an impressive bronze statue of Tapshay in almost perfect condition dating to the second or third century CE. In the statue Tapshay wears the crown with bovine horns, sun disk and two ostrich feathers, the whole set atop a modius. She also wears a small necklace with a round pendant, of a type also depicted on Roman mummy portraits; elsewhere in the temple she is depicted wearing the vulture headdress and the same crown without modius. The Greek inscription on the statue dedicates it “to Tapsais all-victorious <and> to Tithoes [Tutu], the God of Kellis.” This association with victory is also underscored in an inscription from the temple in which Tapshay affirms to the pharaoh (here actually the Roman Emperor Pertinax), “I send your enemies to the slaughtering place.” In addition to Tutu, Tapshay is closely associated at Kellis with Neith. Tapshay bears the titles “Mistress of the Oasis” and “Mistress of the City.”

The nature of the crowns in which Tapshay is depicted suggest queenship, and it has been suggested that this iconographic choice might imply that Tapshay is a deified mortal, the mortal wife and mother of the deified Imhotep being similarly depicted (Kaper and Worp, 115). Tapshay’s possession of certain traits of sovereignty, however, parallels Tutu’s adoption of many traits of ancient pharaonic royal imagery.

Kaper, Olaf and Klaas Worp. “A Bronze Representing Tapsais of Kellis.” Revue d’Egyptologie 46, 1995, p. 107-118.

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