Tuesday, September 8, 2009

NEFERTITI OR BUST ...


It was Nefertiti or Bust this morning as I squeezed-in a 10-minute visit to the Altes Museum in Berlin to catch a quick glimpse of the world-famous bust of Egypt's most mysterious queen. The bust, carved out of limestone more than 3,300 years ago, was discovered in 1912 by German Archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt while excavating the workshop of the Ancient Egyptian sculptor, Thutmose. It has been a lightning rod of controversy ever since. Egyptian officials say that Borchardt smuggled the piece out of Egypt and, indeed, no paperwork exists to prove Germany's claim to it. The controversy seems somehow appropriate for a woman whose life was steeped in turmoil. Nefertiti reined during troubled times in ancient Egypt. Her husband, the Pharoah Akhenaten, single-handedly overthrew the priests of Karnak, ushering-in a short-lived period of religious, political and artistic reform. Nefertiti was considered a great beauty in her day. Her name, literally translated, means "the beautiful one has arrived." However, recent CT scans suggest that Thutmose performed a little ancient Nip and Tuck on his queen. The bust itself consists of a limestone core, covered by carefully crafted, painted stucco. By scanning the underlying sculpture, scientists have found creases around the corners of her mouth and cheeks, less prominent cheekbones, and a slight bump on her nose. Still, most would agree that she was far more attractive by today's standards than Cleopatra. Curators at the Altes Museum -- as if to stage an eternal face-off between the two, have positioned a bust of Cleopatra (pictured below) directly opposite Nefertiti. At first, I thought it was Augustus (Gloop, that is). Maybe that's why contemporary reports emphasize Cleopatra's "nice personality" ...


4 comments:

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

What a hansome woman :o)

Dawn said...

I prefer the Liz Taylor version of Cleo myself... lol

be well...

Beth said...

Oh my. Nice personality AND a good sense of humor.

Ooo, so cool that you got to see that Nefertiti bust! There was a thing in Wired Science about it a while back, and I wrote an entry about it. Fascinating!

emikk said...

It's the Thutmose with the utmost!