Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nefertiti's bust, time to go home?

Wafaa El-Seddiq head of the International Union for the Preservation of Heritage and former director of the Egyptian Museum asks why the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti is still in Germany. This is by far one of the best written and persuasively argued accounts from the Egyptian side which I have seen in a long time.
Nefertiti's bust, time to come home? Al-Ahram Weekly, Issue No. 1094, 19 - 25 April 2012


  1. It is clearly time for Nefertiti, the Egyptian Queen, held against her will and the will of her people, to return home. You have recounted the history of her discovery by Mohamed Ali and her present detention in Berlin. But the Germans have taken the attitude of the person who says don’t confuse me with facts. They do not want to recognize and accept the tricky behaviour of Borchardt even though all the evidence, including the writings of the dubious archaeologist himself, point to his less than honest approach.

    What remains to be done now, is the coordination of efforts and strategy by Egypt and other States interested in restitution.
    The Germans, at least. will know now that it was not only the indefatigable Zahi Hawass who was interested in the restitution of Nefertiti but a large number of Egyptians.

    As I have written in several articles, Germany and other Western States should be ashamed to be known as disputing over any particular Egyptian artefact with Egypt; They have looted enough from Egypt. The Egyptian Museum in Berlin alone has thousands of Egyptian artefacts. In Germany as a whole, there must be some 200,000 Egyptian artefacts. How much more do they want? Can they not afford to return one artefact to Egypt in acknowledgement of Egypt’s contribution to their museums?

    Should the Germans not adopt the position of James Simon, who
    financed the excavations at Amarna and gave Nefertiti as gift to the Neues Museum? Simon later pleaded for the return of Nefertiti to Egypt. (See Open Letter from James Simon to the German Minister of Science, Art and
    Education, 28 June, 1930. Reproduced in, Gert von Paczensky and Herbert
    Ganslymayr, Nofretete will nach Hause: Europa - Schatzhaus der „Dritten
    Welt“, C. Bertelsmann, 1984 pp. 304-305)

    Adolf Hitler who in his wild ambitions dreamt of building a new museum with Nefertiti as centrepiece, decided against such a return.

    Kwame Opoku.

  2. I suppose I should clarify that by drawing attention to the text, I do not necessarily agree with it, but I felt it was very well-written.

    A question I have not seen addressed before is, why would anyone send just one piece of the partage-material from these excavations back to Egypt and keep the rest? Because it is pretty?