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Museum chief says Egypt has not demanded Nefertiti's return

DPA/The Local · 6 Dec 2009, 12:14

Published: 06 Dec 2009 12:14 GMT+01:00

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Eissenhauer, general director of the Berlin state museums, said in an interview he would be happy to help the Egyptians check documents over the ownership of the famous statue, but that there is no doubt of German ownership.

Head of Egypt’s antiquity authority Zahi Hawass has spoken of wanting to move the bust to Egypt, and says he is convinced it was moved to Germany illegally in 1913. He has even set up a committee to “examine what exactly happened then with the distribution of finds.”

But Eissenhauer said, “We want to create trust in our relationships with Egyptian representatives. We will open up all documents, we will let the Egyptian side share our knowledge in order to stress that we have nothing to hide.

“We are convinced that the distribution of finds was conducted absolutely correctly. They were not playing with hidden cards back then, nothing was hidden, there was no con, the agreement over distribution of finds was a completely regular procedure.”

The bust, said to be more than 3,000 years old, was brought to Germany by archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt and first put on display in 1923. The story goes that the Egyptian authorities did not particularly value it at the time and made no particular effort to keep it.

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It was recently moved to the newly-renovated Neues Museum where it has an entire room to itself, and attracts crowds of visitors.

But it remains on the list of the things Egypt would most like to see returned from various museums around the world. An image of the bust even graces the landing cards which visitors to Egypt have to fill out when arriving by plane.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:52 December 6, 2009 by richard_vijay
If the day comes when Zahi Hawass finally gets his grubby hands (pray to God that he does not)on the statue of Nefertiti, for his eventual retirement from the Supreme Coucil of Antiquities, a statue of his head affixed to the body of a lion should be installed in front of the Egyptian museum. Let hios then fantasise about being the gaurdian of Egyptian atiquities. Fat,obnoxious hippo.
20:28 December 6, 2009 by wood artist
There is certainly nothing wrong with Hawass wishing it was back in Egypt. Regardless of the legal niceties, it is obvious that the bust was originally in Egypt, made there for local display.

If it was agreed that it could leave, that's fine with me, but it's certainly understandable they'd love to have it back.
11:24 December 7, 2009 by William Thirteen
or is it just a fake Borchardt produced to test pigments as Stierlin suggests?

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