Egypt: Queen Nefertiti ‘was an aging beauty’

This video is about Queen Nefretiti.

Her famous bust was in the Ägyptisches Museum in Berlin. In 2005 the museum moved from its Charlottenburg location to Altes Museum.

From Discovery Channel:

Scholar: Nefertiti Was an Aging Beauty

Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

Sept. 5, 2006 — Nefertiti, one of the ancient world’s legendary beauties, may have had wrinkles and bags under her eyes, according to a new investigation into the famous bust bearing her likeness.

Since its discovery in 1912 at Tel-El-Amarna in what used to be the workshop of the sculptor Thutmose, the 3,300-year-old painted limestone bust has become an international symbol of beauty.

Showing a woman with a long neck, elegantly arched brows, high cheekbones, a slender nose and an enigmatic smile played about red lips, the bust has established Nefertiti as one of the most beautiful faces of antiquity.

But on closer inspection, visible wrinkles run down her slender neck, and puffy bags circle her eyes, says Dietrich Wildung, director of Berlin’s Egyptian museum.

Wildung shared his observations on Sunday during a meeting on Egyptian collections in Italy’s Tuscan town of Montepulciano.

“We discovered that Nefertiti shows some signs of her age.

Now she is even more fascinating,” Wildung said.

Wildung discovered the features of aging as he considered using a different kind of lighting for the statue’s new display at Berlin’s Altes Museum.

The finding was supported by a CT scan carried on the 19-inch bust in July. The test confirmed that the sculptor added gypsum around Nefertiti’s eyes and cheeks.

Update on this: here. And here.

See also on Nefertiti: here.

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12 thoughts on “Egypt: Queen Nefertiti ‘was an aging beauty’

  1. TV’s beauty makeovers mask ugly truths

    From drooping eyelids and sagging breasts to cleft palates and stained teeth, the makeover experts on the ABC reality show Extreme Makeover have never met a physical imperfection they couldn’t correct. But philosophy professor Cressida Heyes argues that, for all the beautification that takes place on the show, there are some ugly truths at its core.

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  2. Added wrinkles make Nefertiti more beautiful
    Argentina Star
    Monday 30th July, 2007

    Wrinkles improved the face of Nefertiti, the pharaonic Egyptian queen acclaimed as the world’s most beautiful woman, German scientists have discovered.

    The 3,000-year-old bust of Nefertiti is the greatest treasure at Berlin’s Altes Museum.

    X-ray pictures of the bust by a computer tomography machine at the nearby Charite Hospital in Berlin revealed that the sculpture is a piece of limestone with details added using four outer layers of plaster of Paris.

    ‘We have discovered that the sculptor later added gentle wrinkles to her face, especially around the eyes,’ said Dietrich Wildung, director of the Museum of Egyptology housed in the upper storey of the Altes Museum.

    ‘The wrinkles make the image more individual and expressive.’

    The scientists speculate that Nefertiti, who would have sat for the sculptor, herself approved the older look.

    Wildung said he received the revelation a year ago that the serene face, which today lacks one eye, was not quite as smooth as it looked.

    Museum officials, who say Nefertiti is too fragile to visit Egypt, even worried about sending her to hospital.

    The scan of the artwork, which is 50 cm tall including the hat, was arranged in cooperation with film teams from the US National Geographic Society and German public broadcaster ZDF.

    ‘The prime motivation was scientific,’ stressed Wildung, an Egyptologist who said he had always presumed that some plaster ‘make-up’ had been applied as a finish to the solid limestone before it was painted.

    The results prove once and for all that the artist re-adjusted the image four times.

    ‘The purpose was not to idealize her at all, but to make the image more realistic,’ Wildung explained, suggesting that hints of age were probably not taboo in Nefertiti-era art, but a source of prestige.

    It may surprise modern women who go to the cosmetic surgeon to recover that smooth teenage complexion, but wrinkles have always been esteemed as a subtle badge of wisdom.

    The Museum is to alter the lighting in the Nefertiti room after the discovery.

    ‘The lighting will now emphasize the eye area and show these hints that she has a past and is not ageless,’ said Wildung.

    Nefertiti was the chief wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten who ruled about 1350 BC.

    ‘There are still quite a few mysteries about her,’ said Wildung. ‘We don’t know if she was a native Egyptian or came from the Near East. Nor do we know how old she was when she married or if she survived her husband.

    It will always be a matter of speculation exactly how old she was when the royal sculptor Thutmosis preserved her appearance for immortality.

    The sculpture was re-discovered in 1912 by a German archaeologist, Ludwig Borchhardt, during an excavation in Egypt. It was awarded to the German excavation team under the legal arrangements for the dig and duly exported.

    James Simon, the German merchant and patron of the arts who funded the expedition, kept the bust in his Berlin home for a time, then donated it in 1920 to the government of Prussia, which was a part of Germany.

    Nefertiti went on public display in 1924 and has graced various museums since, accompanied by longing calls from Egypt for her return. The Germans say their legal ownership of the bust is beyond question.

    She is set to obtain a new home in 2009 when the collection moves to the nearby Neues Museum after its renovation.

    Museum chief Wildung says he often observes museum visitors from his nearby office as they stand in awe before the Egyptian beauty, who now lacks one eye.

    ‘She is more than just a pretty face,’ he said. ‘The people go silent in wonderment at her.’


  3. I don’t understand. In September 9, 1983, before he was hired in 1989 as Director of the Berlin Egyptian Museum, Wildung had personally written in his “historical/stylistic analysis” of the bust, that the bust is 1} an ice-cold perfection, 2} a lifeless work, 3} not a shred of the style of the period is perceptible in it, and 4} it is a fabricated work of art.

    Did he realize then that the bust is authentic when he became director of the Museum? and in this case did he ever admit that he had made a mistake when he had condemned it viciously as he did in 1983?

    Comment by Edgard Mansoor — January 27, 2012 @ 12:30 am


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