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- Lid geworden op: zo 03 apr 2005, 16:20
The most beautiful of all
After more than eight decades in Germany, will Nefertiti make the trip back to her homeland ?
The serenely elegant bust of Queen Nefertiti in Berlin's Egyptian Museum, where visitors crowd in front of her showcase
When I first saw the serenely elegant bust of Queen Nefertiti in Berlin's Egyptian Museum, where a stream of visitors crowds in front of her gleaming showcase, I wondered if this fragile beauty, painted so vividly as if it had been completed only yesterday, would ever return to its homeland? This question is being debated by Egyptologists since it was raised recently in a speech by Zahi Hawass, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) before presidents Hosni Mubarak and Horst Khöler during the official inauguration of the "Egypt's Sunken Treasures" exhibition in Berlin. Hawass asked the German government to offer the famous bust to Egypt on a three-month loan so that it could go on show at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo to coincide with the centenary celebrations of the German Archeological Institute in Egypt in November 2006.
In return, Hawass pledged that the SCA would offer another statue on loan to the Egyptian Museum in Berlin for the three months while Nefertiti was in Egypt.
Hawass told Al-Ahram Weekly that the SCA was willing to provide the Germans with all the guarantees required to assure the return of the bust after the completion of the exhibition. "However that would not affect or contravene Egypt's request to repossess this key item of the country's cultural heritage which it had been deprived of for almost a century," Hawass insisted.
Last year, in his speech at a meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin held at UNESCO in Paris, Hawass requested the return of five such key items of Egypt's cultural heritage, which he described as the country's "national icons". The objects in question are the Rosetta Stone, which left Egypt in the early 1800s and is now in the British Museum in London, the bust of Nefertiti in the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, the statue of the Great Pyramid architect Hemiunnu in the Roemer-Pelizaeus Museum in Hilesheim, the Dendara Temple Zodiac now in the Louvre in Paris, and the bust of Kephren Pyramid builder Ankhaf which is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
In response to Hawass's statement, the Berlin Museum director told reporters at a specially-convened press conference that Queen Nefertiti did not wish to leave Germany, and all legitimate international agreements admitted Germany's legal possession of the bust.
nn ms.i sA.w -- No one is born wise.