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The Berlin Nefertiti bust is FAKE!
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Gypsy
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 7:40 pm    Post subject: The Berlin Nefertiti bust is FAKE! Reply with quote

I'd come to that conclusion some time ago from studying some evidence. One such evidence is that the wall carvings and other statues of the queen do not at all resemble the bust. I am aware that AE art was not meant to reflect reality. But then there should still be consistency in the way she was depicted. This is not the case as the bust looks totally different from all the other mediums in which she was depicted. Read and discuss.

http://news.aol.com/article/fake-nefertiti-bust/465482
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Montuhotep88
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's going to cause a ruckus. I'll be interested to hear more about this... I'm rather dubious, but we shall see.
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed. Wink
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ELISE
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Someone (I forget the persons name) has written a book outlining the theory that the bust is a fake.

The claim is that the bust was made in 1912 with the aim of experimenting with the types of pigments and techniques used by the ancient egyptians. Allegedly, a fairly important dignitary saw the work and was fawning over it to such as extent, that the artists and scientists involved did not have the heart to come clean. It sounds a bit far-fetched, but who knows?

This is, at the moment, one person's take on the origin of bust, I believe. It has been reported in a number of the British broadsheets - I am not sure how much coroborating evidence there is.

I'm sure everyone with a interest in the era has wondered about the authenticity of the piece, even if just fleetingly, based on the unique styling (there is nothing else to my knowledge of this delicacy), and it does also fit conveniently the ambiguity over how the Germans kept the find a secret/got the bust out of Egypt so easily.

Far from proven, though I think.
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is taken from Borchardts own notebook.
If it were true, whywould he make this statement?

Borchardt, already aware of the value of the limestone bust of Queen Nefertiti, rushed the division negotiation, listed the figure as “bust of painted plaster of a princess of the royal family” (italics ours), and presented severely cropped photographs of the object to Lefébvre, who let the precious artifact go.

"Suddenly we had the most alive Egyptian artwork in our hands," Borchardt wrote in his diary, "You cannot describe it with words. You can only see it."

Sorry. I just don't buy it.
It was discovered in the workroom of the sculptor along with several other (so-called) death masks.
A careful search was made for both the eye (never found) and the missing pieces of the ear.
It was carefully covered with mud, to make it more unattractive, in order for it to be given to the expedition.
It was not kept in Borchardts house for 10 years, but taken immediately to the Berlin Museum. (but not put on display for 10 years)
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Osiris II wrote:

It was carefully covered with mud, to make it more unattractive, in order for it to be given to the expedition.


That is a supposition that has been made to try to explain how the bust was overlooked by the Egyptians - no-one (alive) knows for sure what happened. It is also possible that the Egyptians just did not realise the importance of the piece when dividing the spoils - unlikely as that may sound - the find pre-dated Tutankhamen's tomb and there was not the current level of interest in Armana era work then.

I think it unlikely that the bust is a fake, but nothing is impossible.

BTW, some of the reporting on this has been woeful - I notice it being referred to interchangeably as a 'copy' and a 'fake'. It is now somewhat unclear whether the claim is that a 'real' bust exists somewhere, and the one on display in Berlin is an exact 'copy' made to test the pigments, or whether the bust is a fake, not based on any real artwork, made from scratch in situ at the dig and passed off as a novel relic.
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally think it's a load of nonsense.
The excavation in December 1912 of Thutmose's workshop is fairly well documented. The fact that other masks and busts were found puts the find in context.

The idea that someone was just experimenting and made a bust like that on the spot seems rather unlikely to me. It's too detailed and involved a project to be created on the spot as an experiment.


Anything to sell a book I guess?
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting responses everyone. I hadn't heard of this theory before. The article seemed credible but now I'm rethinking things.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
... the bust looks totally different from all the other mediums in which she was depicted


That's not true. If you're thinking of the more extreme Amarna style, then yes, those are different.
But in several scenes and statues she appears much more like the bust:
stela

Panehesy's Altar

Not to mention the standing figure of Nefertiti, showing her at an older age. Standing Nefertiti

And the face of Nefertiti from a dyad found in Amarna:Dyad
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I was thinking of the wall carvings, especially in the first link you gave. I do see how the bust resembles the statues.





So the bust was done in a true to life form, while the wall carvings were exaggerated?
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

where did the one on the right of the bust come from? i'd like to see the whole image, it's very interesting.

it wouldn't surprise me if the bust on display is a fake and the original in a storeroom to protect it from possible thievery.
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

anneke wrote:
I personally think it's a load of nonsense.
The excavation in December 1912 of Thutmose's workshop is fairly well documented. The fact that other masks and busts were found puts the find in context.

The idea that someone was just experimenting and made a bust like that on the spot seems rather unlikely to me. It's too detailed and involved a project to be created on the spot as an experiment.

Anything to sell a book I guess?


My feelings exactly: though I have yet to see the book by Henri Stierlin (the one who writes a number of books on ancient Egypt, BTW), but I had to say my eyebrows went up on this statement in the article:

Stierlin also listed problems he noted during the discovery and shipment to Germany as well as in scientific reports of the time.

French archaeologists present at the site never mentioned the finding and neither did written accounts of the digs. The earliest detailed scientific report appeared in 1923, 11 years after the discovery.


and, from another article, we find Stierlin himself make the same comment:

The earliest detailed scientific report appeared in 1923, 11 years after the discovery.

The archaeologist "didn't even bother to supply a description, which is amazing for an exceptional work found intact".

Mr Borchardt "knew it was a fake", Mr Stierlin said.


So, where is Stierlin's research about the Borchardt notebook?

FWIW, this report seems to remain undiscussed on the professional Egyptological lists. I would suspect there are a lot of problems with this theory, and someone will have to read the work (which remains unnamed in the articles I've read, BTW), to see how the argument runs.

After a short search, here's the publication:

Stierlin, H. 2009. Le buste de Néfertiti : Une imposture de l'égyptologie? (Broché): 137 pages. Infolio Publishers. ISBN-10: 2884741380
ISBN-13: 978-2884741385.

I would suppose someone here could read it (assuming you know French) and outline the argument for us here. I am, unfortunately tied up with my own work (dissertation), so I would hope someone else can do this.
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This story did give me a jolt of shock when it first appeared. However, I have nagging doubts as to the plausibility of its truth. After all, this piece has been under public and academic scrutiny for nearly a hundred years. Surely there has been enough time and effort invested into its examination by qualified archaeologists and historians to be assured of its age. Does anyone know of any carbon dating tests that might have been performed on it?

I'm currently reading Sharon Waxman's book, Loot: The Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World, and there is an extensive exerpt from Ludwig Borchardt's journal describing the discovery of the bust in Thutmose's studio. This account seems so detailed that it seems to negate the allegation that it was some sort of contemporary portrait of the Queen.

What seems more plausible to me is that perhaps a copy of the bust, or at least a bust of an Egyptian female, had been commissioned by Borchardt and that is the piece that was seen and admired by the German prince; not the iconic Nefertiti bust itself.
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello all!

As regards Stierlin’s book – I did not have the time to read it. I’m overloaded with work at the moment. But... (there’s always a ‘but’, somehow Wink)... I have a colleague who read it. I give you the ‘synopsis’ he wrote on a French Egyptology Forum:

Stierlin does NOT put forth any proof (whether absolute or indisputable) that the bust is a fake. Granted, he puts the finger on several inconstancies made during the discovery, on the ‘amateurism’ of the discoverer, etc. But does all this stand for proof? Not at all, only a hint.
On analyses: Stierlin says that the pigments that have been discovered do not prove that they were ancient pigments. Neither does it prove that it was a fake. The same applies for the plaster and the calcic elements found in the nucleus.


Opinion of my colleague: This study (book) just looks like a (long) list of elements tending to prove the bust is a fake, without ever achieving to prove it is a fake... Cool

My opinion: The ‘missing eye’ is not a problem, as it was shown many times that it was not intended to be set in its place on the bust. Why so? Because we have to remember that this bust was above all else a model.

Hope it helps to clarify things.
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The two things that make this a bit more interesting than the standard loony theories are:-

1/ That the author claims an admission from someone involved with the excavation that the item was a fake (i.e not just the usual subjective view based on appearance/style of a piece).

2/ That the theory about the faking of the bust (use of an ancient base and ancient pigments) makes it an unproveable theory, as the old materials would presumably test as 'old' wether they were put together in 1300 BC or 1912AD. Quite clever to come up with a theory that can't easily be debunked. Twisted Evil

That aside, many of the other pieces of 'evidence' aren't 'evidence' of anything. Or could equally be used to support either an ancient dating or a modern one. Examples:-

What on earth does the eye (or lack of eye) tell us about the age of the piece? Bugger all. It neither supports nor disproves the dating of the bust.

What does lack of in-situ documentation (if true) tell us about the age of the piece. 1/ That there is no record because it was faked after the discovery. 2/ That there is no record because the excavators wanted to hang onto such an amazing piece and not stick it in the pot of spoils for subdivision. Both sides could claim this as evidence for their case.

I still think the 'fake' theory unlikely, but I do find the discussion (in general, (not specifically on here) on what supports or disproves the theory, quite facile.
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