Saturday, April 14, 2007

Minister rules out lending Nefertiti bust

"Queen Nefertiti's bust, a symbol of female power and beauty that has survived more than three millennia, is too fragile to leave Berlin for a trip to Egypt, German Culture Minister Bernd Neumann said.
Neumann rejected a campaign by a Hamburg-based lobby group demanding the loan of Nefertiti to Egypt. CulturCooperation e.V., partly funded by the European Union, says Egypt has been requesting the return of the regal bust for more than 90 years, most recently just for temporary exhibition. . . . Lena Blosat, a spokeswoman for CulturCooperation, said the group is of the opinion that Egyptian requests for a loan of the bust are justified. No one disputes Berlin's legal right to ownership of the treasure, she said.
CulturCooperation, a non-profit organization founded in 1986, supports contemporary art projects and campaigns for a fairer cultural exchange between European nations and countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America whose treasures were plundered by colonial powers. The group has funding from the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU."
"The German minister responsible for culture Friday ruled out lending Egypt one of Berlin's most famous archaeological treasures, the bust of Queen Nefertiti. Allowing the 3,000-year-old bust of the Egyptian queen to make such a long journey would be 'irresponsible,' Minister of State for Culture Bernd Neumann said. The minister was responding to demands from campaigners calling for the figure to go on display in other countries, including its native Egypt. 'Generally speaking we welcome loans of objects within the international museum community. But experts have voiced considerable reservations about a lengthy transportation of Nefertiti from a conservation and restoration point of view,' Neumann said. The plaster bust of Nefertiti is currently on display at Berlin's Altes Museum. It has been in German hands since it was bought by art lover James Simon in 1913."

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