Sunday 6 December 2020


Representing chief consort and Great Royal Wife of Amenhotep IV, the iconic limestone bust was discovered on this day in 1912 by a team of archรฆologists working under the auspices of the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft (DOG—the German Oriental Society) led by Ludwig Borchadt in Amarna at site that housed the workshop of celebrated sculptor Thutmose. Since its first going on display to the public in a Berlin museum, Egyptian authorities at the bureau of antiquities have requested that the three-thousand three hundred and fifty year old artefact be repatriated, arguing the significance of the find was downplayed and had inspectors been allowed to fully examine the bust, they would have never allowed it to leave. Focus of aspirations for revanchism after the dissolution of the Prussian monarchy and defeat in World War I, Nefertiti was conscripted for a rather fraught political career of propaganda (see also) in the Third Reich in the years to follow. Presence in the Zeitgeist included the 1935 cinematic portray of the Bride of Frankenstein, patterned after the signature crown, and her role and cultural impact has now been rehabilitated insofar as she is considered the counterbalance to the figure of Tutankhamun and a good-will ambassador for representation, art and the field of Egyptology. The arguments against repatriation, characterising nations outside of Europe too unstable to properly care for their treasures and cultural heritage is particularly rubbished by the way Germany has torn itself apart, Nefertiti sent away for safe-keeping in a salt-mine and nearly lost to history.