Berlin museum rebuffs Egyptian threat

17th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

17 April 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Berlin's Museum of Egyptology rebuffed a threat from Egypt's top antiquities official to block all art loans to Germany unless the "world's most beautiful woman," Queen Nefertiti, goes home to Cairo. Though one eye is missing, the 3,000-year-old painted limestone bust of the queen is celebrated as one of the finest female representations ever created. It was taken to Germany from Egypt under a 1913 contract. Dietrich Wildung, the museum director, said on the radio channel Deut

17 April 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Berlin's Museum of Egyptology rebuffed a threat from Egypt's top antiquities official to block all art loans to Germany unless the "world's most beautiful woman," Queen Nefertiti, goes home to Cairo.

Though one eye is missing, the 3,000-year-old painted limestone bust of the queen is celebrated as one of the finest female representations ever created. It was taken to Germany from Egypt under a 1913 contract.

Dietrich Wildung, the museum director, said on the radio channel Deutschland radio Kultur he was not too concerned at the threat, since Egypt had not lent any art to Germany since 1985 anyway.

"Even without loans we can manage comfortably and put on a good show," he said.

Zahi Hawwas, head of Egypt's antiquities authority, told the parliament in Cairo on Sunday that if Germany refused to lend the bust to Cairo, he would halt further cooperation with German museums and archaeologists.

Wildung said Nefertiti would not look so special in Cairo among all the other treasures on display.

Anja Kuhr, a spokesman for Culture Cooperation, a German group campaigning for the bust to be lent to Egypt, meanwhile attacked the claim by the museum that the bust is too fragile to be transported.

Germany's state minister for culture, Bernd Neumann, had said Friday a loan would be "irresponsible."

Kuhr called for Neumann to obtain an expert report on Nefertiti's robustness. She said the museum would be in trouble if the bust had decayed.

German art lover James Simon bought the bust from Ottoman authorities in 1913 and it is a top tourist attraction in Berlin.

Nefertiti was the wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep IV and mother-in-law of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun. Her name roughly translates to "the beautiful one is come."

DPA

Subject: German news

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