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Is Queen Nefertiti’s Famous Bust Fake?

An art historian and expert on ancient Egypt says the famous 3,400 year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti could be a fake. Henri Stierlin, who has studied the subject for 25 years, believes it was made in 1912.

The BBC reports Stierlin, author of numerous books on Ancient Egypt and the Middle East, believes the bust of the famous ancient Egyptian beauty is a gypsum copy. "It seems increasingly improbable that the bust is an original," he said.
The Swiss-born historian believes it was made on the orders of German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt, the man credited with the find.
Stierlin said a number of pointers revealed the piece to be a fake, including the fact that the bust had no left eye: ”An insult for an ancient Egyptian who believed the statue was the person".
He also said the method by which the shoulders were cut was not that used by the Egyptians and that Nefertiti’s facial features were accentuated similarly to the Art Nouveau style, which was popular in Europe at the time.
The bust was made of stone, is covered in plaster, but the pigments appeared to be ”really ancient,” he said.
Documents published earlier this year show Borchardt: ” Didn't even bother to supply a description, which is amazing for an exceptional work found intact". A team of French archaeologists working at the dig never mentioned the find either.
The bust is to go on display at Berlin’s Neuer Museum in October, with a new room for the Nefertiti bust.

4 comments

#1
Christopher Szabo   May 10, 2009
It does seem that people are questioning everything. I was quite suprised to read this, and it seems the Neue Berliner Museum doesn't believe him. Either that, or it has spent too much money to go back now.
Thanks for your comment.
#2
Christopher Szabo   May 10, 2009
Apparently it's a copy of an original. But that raises the question, where is that? It does seem to raise more questions than answers! The joys of th world of ancient art!
#3
Debra Myers   May 11, 2009
Interesting that now someone questions it. It's very sad to think that this (maybe) isn't the real bust...
#4
Christopher Szabo   May 11, 2009
Yes Debra, I agree. Still, whatever it is, I think it still gives us a glimpse into ancient Egypt. That's something!
Thanks for your comment.