Despite vigorous campaigning , by Egypt’s Zahi Hawass, indications are that Berlin’s Neues Museum has no plans to return the Nefertiti Bust that is currently in their museum.
Queen Nefertiti will stay in Berlin
December 24, 9:05 AM
Archaeology – News – Examiner – Will Hunt
Egypt has been on a crusade of late, demanding the return of apparently stolen ancient artifacts from Europe’s museums. Last week, the Louvre buckled under the pressure of Zahi Hawass, the media-friendly (ok, media-mongering) secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, and returned five 3,200-year-old fragments of a tomb painting from Luxor.
In Berlin, it seems, Hawass will not be so lucky. His attempts to bring home the 3,300-year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti appear to have been thwarted. During recent campaigns for the statue’s return, Hawass has claimed to have proof that in 1913, German archeologist Ludwig Borchardt deceived Egyptian officials by covering the bust with a coating of clay. Friederike Seyfried, director of the Neues Museum in Berlin, where Nefertiti is a star attraction, doesn’t seem to care. On Tuesday, she – rather flatly – told BBC: “The position of the German side is clear and unambiguous – the acquisition of the bust by the Prussian state was legal.”
Nefertiti, wife of Akhenaten, the pharoah infamous for inventing a monotheistic sun-worship cult, is known as one of the great beauties in world history. Likewise, the statue under scrutiny, which exhibits her slender neck, delicate features, and elegant profile, is regarded as a masterpiece.
Seyfried’s swatting aside of Hawass in Berlin suggests that Egypt’s High Priest of Antiquities has less of a grip on the antiquities market than his demands originally implied. Earlier this month, Hawass rescinded his demand of a permanent return of the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum, saying that he would be satisfied with a three-month loan.