Thursday, December 24, 2009

Repatriation: More re Nefertiti

Monsters and Critics

New tests show the limestone and plaster bust of Queen Nefertiti is too fragile to fly home to Egypt for a temporary exhibition, the Berlin museum that owns the disputed artwork said Tuesday.

It issued the statement two days after the Egyptian Museum's director, Friederike Seyfried, met in Cairo with Egypt's antiquities chief, Zahi Hawass. She said she did not negotiate over the 3,500-year-old bust with Hawass.

'An examination in 2007 of the state of preservation of the bust ruled it unsuitable for transport or loans,' said the Prussian Heritage Foundation, the parent corporation of the museum. 'Further tests which have not yet been completed only confirm this.'

The future of the exquisite head is highly political, as underlined by the fresh assessment of the bust in recent days.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's top culture aide, Bernd Neumann, said Tuesday through a spokesman that a loan was now 'absolutely out of the question on conservation grounds alone.'

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