Germany rejects Egypt’s request to return Queen Nefertiti bustJanuary 25th, 2011 - 12:49 am ICT by BNO News
BERLIN, GERMANY (BNO NEWS) — Germany on Monday rejected the request from Egypt for the return of the 3,300-year old bust of Queen Nefertiti, DPA news agency reported.
Zahi Hawas, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the council sent a letter requesting the return of the piece of art which is currently on display at Berlin’s Neues Museum.
Egypt’s Culture Ministry informed that the formal request was also signed by Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif but Germany denied this information. Berlin officials said that the request was only signed by Hawas and thus it was not official.
The bust was discovered by German Egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt in 1912 during an excavation at Tell al-Amarna. The piece of art was given to German arts patron who financed the project.
Egypt claims that the German team put mud on the bust so that the Egypt’s antiquities chief at the time overlooked its value. The piece consists in the bust of Queen Nefertiti’s head and shoulders made from painted limestone.
Nefertiti was the wife of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten. Her bust is visited by million visitors every year at the Egyptian section of the Neues Museum. Germanys says the masterpiece was legally acquired in 1913.
The arts patron of the Tell al-Amarna dig, James Simon, donated the Nefertiti bust to Germany in 1913. The German government said the transfer was legally binding and the museum foundation has records of the transfer as well.
Egypt claims that the request is part of an initiative that seeks the restitution of all archaeological pieces that have been taken illicitly out of the country. Hawas said that the bust will be exhibited at the Akhenaten Museum in Minya which will open in early 2012.
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