Nefertiti Bust Taken Down | An obviously not-so-perfect replica of the bust famous ancient queen Neferiti sparked an outcry in Egypt, that resulted in taking it down. Initially the intention was honorable: Officials wanted to place something nice and Egyptian at the entrance of Samalut – a city located half way between Cairo and Luxor. Just the artist was not able to master his self-chosen challenge: creating a copy of the famously beautiful bust of Queen Nefertiti. 20 years ago nobody except the local arts teacher might have raised a finger. But now we live in the ago of social media. Pictures of this bust went viral, and the damage was done:
“This is an insult to Nefertiti and to every Egyptian,” … “It should be named ‘ugly tasteless artless statue’… not Nefertiti.” … Many Egyptians felt offended by the failed attempt to replicate the iconic bust directed their anger at the sculptors: “If you don’t know how to make statues don’t go and do something so unfair to the beautiful Nefertiti,” … “Not only are you distorting the present but also the past! I ask that the original bust not be returned from Germany, at least there she’s got her dignity.”
Thousands of Egyptians did use the hashtag “Nefertiti” in Arabic, comparing the replica to the original bust, often using sarcastic captions like this one: “This is how Egyptian art has evolved over the years”.
Queen Nefertiti ruled Egypt alongside her husband in the 14th century before Christ. Her beauty is simply legendary, and her name in fact translates as beautiful woman has arrived. Our modern image of this ancient female role model has been largely shaped by that one single bust which currently feels save in the “Neues Museum” in Berlin, Germany. Unearthed in 1912 its ownership is subject of frequent debates between Egypt and Germany that go back to Hitler’s days. The bust is notable for exemplifying the extremely high understanding Ancient Egyptians had regarding realistic facial proportions. Nevertheless to Egyptians, Nefertiti remains a proud symbol of their country’s impressive history and beauty.
Quite frequently Egyptian authorities demand the return of Queen Nefertiti’s bust from Berlin’s “Neues Museum”. They claim that a guy named Ludwig Borchardt (he uncovered the 3,400-year-old bust in 1912) deliberately misled Egyptian officials about its true value. He must have known it was a bust of the pharaonic-era queen but instead listed it simply as a plaster bust of a princess. There have been demands for a return in 1925, 2007 and 2009. And in 1935 things actually looked pretty promising: Germany agreed to hand it over, but then Adolf Hitler nixed the deal.
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