• Nefrertiti's Bust It's 20th-Century Art Nouveau

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    bust of Queen Nefertiti housed in a Berlin museum and believed to
    be 3,400 years old in fact is a copy dating from 1912 that was made
    to test pigments used by the ancient Egyptians, according to Swiss
    art historian Henri Stierlin.

    Stierlin, author
    of a dozen works on Egypt, the Middle East and ancient Islam, says
    in a just-released book that the bust currently in Berlin’s Altes
    Museum was made on the orders of Germany archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt
    on site at the digs by an artist named Gerardt Marks.

    "It seems
    increasingly improbable that the bust is an original," Stierlin
    told AFP.

    The historian
    said the archaeologist had hoped to produce a new portrait of the
    queen wearing a necklace he knew she had owned and also carry out
    a colour test with ancient pigments found at the digs.

    But on December
    6, 1912, the copy was much admired as an original work by a German
    prince and the archaeologist "couldn’t sum up the courage to
    ridicule" his guests, Stierlin said.

    The historian,
    who has been working on the subject for 25 years, said he based
    his findings on several facts. "The bust has no left eye and
    was never crafted to have one. This is an insult for an ancient
    Egyptian who believed the statue was the person themself."

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    8, 2009

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