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Egypt & the Pyramids => Egypt: Latest Discoveries => Topic started by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 11:05:59 am



Title: Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 05, 2009, 11:05:59 am


              (http://www.101destinations.com/images/Nefertiti_berlin.jpg)










                                                     Famed Nefertiti bust 'a fake': expert






May 5, 2009           
PARIS
(AFP)

– The bust of Queen Nefertiti housed in a Berlin museum and believed to be 3,400 years old in fact is a copy dating from 1912 that was made to test pigments used by the ancient Egyptians, according to Swiss art historian Henri Stierlin.

Stierlin, author of a dozen works on Egypt, the Middle East and ancient Islam, says in a just-released book that the bust currently in Berlin's Altes Museum was made at the order of German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt by an artist named Gerardt Marks.

"It seems increasingly improbable that the bust is an original," Stierlin told AFP.

The historian said the archaeologist had hoped to produce a new portrait of the queen wearing a necklace he knew she had owned, and was also looking to carry out a colour test with ancient pigments found at the digs.

But on December 6, 1912, the copy was admired as an original work by a German prince and the archaeologist "couldn't sum up the courage to ridicule" his guest, Stierlin said.

The historian, who has been working on the subject for 25 years, said he based his findings on several facts. "The bust has no left eye and was never crafted to have one. This is an insult for an ancient Egyptian who believed the statue was the person themself."

He also said the shoulders were cut vertically in the style practised since the 19th century while "Egyptians cut shoulders horizontally" and that the features were accentuated in a manner recalling that of Art Nouveau.

It was impossible to scientifically establish the date of the bust because it was made of stone covered in plaster, he said.

"The pigments, which can be dated, are really ancient," he added.

Stierlin also listed problems he noted during the discovery and shipment to Germany as well as in scientific reports of the time.

French archaeologists present at the site never mentioned the finding and neither did written accounts of the digs. The earliest detailed scientific report appeared in 1923, 11 years after the discovery.

The archaeologist "didn't even bother to supply a description, which is amazing for an exceptional work found intact".

Borchardt "knew it was a fake," Stierlin said. "He left the piece for 10 years in his sponsor's sitting-room. It's as if he'd left Tutankhamen's mask in his own sitting-room."

Egypt has demanded the return of the bust discovered on the banks of the Nile since it went on display in 1923, depicting a stunning woman wearing a unique cone-shaped headdress.

One of Berlin's prime attractions it will move into its own hall at the newly renovated Neues Museum when it reopens to the public in October.


Title: Re: Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 06, 2009, 07:54:17 am









                                                Is famed Nefertiti bust a fake?






May 5th, 2009
San Jose Mercury News

The plot thickens.

Agence France-Press is reporting that the famed bust of Nefertiti, which is housed in the Altes
Museum of the National Museums of Berlin, is a 20th-century copy.

This is interesting news given recent radiological testing of the statue which revealed a hidden
face carved in the statue’s limestone core and which was supposed to support the theory that
the bust is indeed 3,300 years old.

I’ve never seen the original sculpture…only a copy which visited the Bay Area recently in the Fine
Arts Museums of San Francisco’s exhibit “The State Museums of Berlin and the Legacy of James
Simon.”

Is the controversial statue indeed a fake?

It’ll be interesting to see how this story plays out…


Title: Re: Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 06, 2009, 09:32:40 pm







                                                          No, No, Nefertiti






By Mitchell Martin
Published: May 5, 2009   
 NEW YORK

—It’s hard to imagine Queen Nefertiti speaking with a German accent, but a Swiss art historian is claiming that a delicate bust of the Egyptian monarch in Berlin that was thought to date back to 1347 BC is in fact a 20th-century imposter.

Henri Stierlin says the bust was made by an artist named Gerardt Marks at the request of Ludwig Borchardt, an archaeologist, for research purposes. On December 6, 1912, a German prince admired the statue as an original, the story goes, and Borchardt didn’t have the heart to correct him.

The historian gave several bits of evidence to support his claim. Among them: The bust has only one eye and was not crafted to include the other one, which would have been offensive in ancient Egypt; its shoulders were cut vertically, reminiscent of Art Nouveau styling rather than the typical horizontal orientation of Egyptian works; and archaeologists at the site where the bust was said to have been found did not mention it at the time.

German scientists recently discovered a second face under the surface of the bust, suggesting that the features of the statue were adjusted for some reason.

It would be ironic if the work were fake: Egypt has been trying to get it back for years. Nefertiti was the wife of the 18th-dynasty Pharaoh Akhenaton, and together they were known for efforts to bring monotheism to Egypt with the worship of one sun god, Aton.

The bust is currently on view at Berlin’s Altes Museum and is scheduled to move to the Neues Museum when the institution reopens in October. Stierlin told ARTINFO that he had suspected the statue was not an antiquity as far back as 1983 but has recently refined his analysis and wanted to come public with it before the opening of the new museum.



http://www.archaeologynews.org/link.asp?ID=434839&Title=No, No, Nefertiti


Title: Re: Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 14, 2009, 09:06:04 am








                                      Swiss art historian claims Nefertiti bust a fake



                                  Egypt's antiquities head says statements nonsensical
 
 
 
 

(AlArabiya.net, Agencies)
May 9, 2009

One of history's most famous archaeological finds may just be a fake, claims one art historian.
The world renowned bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, believed to be 3,400 years old, is at the
center of contentious debate on whether the famed artifact is genuine or just a forgery.

Housed in a Berlin museum, the iconic bust is one of the most copied works of ancient Egypt but its legitimacy has been put into question by Swiss art historian, Henri Stierlin, who claims that the bust
is just a copy dating from 1912.

Stierlin says an archaeologist at the time had hoped to produce a new portrait of the queen wearing
a necklace he knew she had owned, and was also looking to carry out a color test with ancient pigments found at the digs.

"It seems increasingly improbable that the bust is an original," Stierlin told AFP.
 



Bust in Germany: "fake"

The startling claim stroked already tense relations between Egypt and Germany, the former having already made requests for the immediate return of the artifact since it went on display in 1923.

The colorful bust depicts a stunning woman – believed to be Nefertiti - wearing a unique cone-shaped headdress. Stierlin, author of a dozen works on Egypt, the Middle East and ancient Islam, says the bust currently in Berlin's Altes Museum was made at the order of German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt by an artist named Gerardt Marks.

On Dec. 6, 1912, the copy was admired as an original work by a German prince and Borchardt "couldn't sum up the courage to ridicule" his guest, Stierlin said.

He claimed it was impossible to scientifically establish the date of the bust because it was made of stone covered in plaster. The historian, who has been working on the subject for 25 years, said he based his findings on several facts. 


Title: Re: Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 14, 2009, 09:07:20 am








Egypt refutes "findings"



Zahi Hawass refuted claims that Nefertiti was a fake, promising to reveal story behind her smuggling

But Egyptian authorities are crying foul, claiming that the allegations regarding the legitimacy of one
of Egypt's most prized artifacts are unfounded.

"Stierlin is not a historian. He is delirious," Zahi Hawas, Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme Council
of Antiquities told AlArabiya.

Hawas, the leading expert on ancient Egypt, refuted a number of claims Stierlin cited in his argument over the age of the bust, including its design and original condition.

Stierlin said the shoulders were cut vertically in the style practiced since the 19th century while "Egyptians cut shoulders horizontally" and that the features were accentuated in a manner recalling that of Art Nouveau.

But Hawas argued that the era of Pharaoh Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti was distinguished by a
new type of art form that broke free from all traditional styles.
 

" It seems increasingly improbable that the bust is an original "
Henri Stierlin, Swiss archaeologist"Thus, the paintings and statues belonging to this period came out different," he said.

Stierlin noted that the bust has no left eye and this would have been an insult to the queen at the time, so it couldn't have been carved during Nefertiti's reign.

Hawas again refuted the claim saying that the bust had a left eye that was damaged.

"The royal sculptor Tohotmos made it with two eyes, but one was later destroyed."

Stierlin also listed problems he noted during the discovery and shipment to Germany as well as in scientific reports of the time.

French archaeologists present at the site never mentioned the finding and neither did written accounts of the digs. The earliest detailed scientific report appeared in 1923, 11 years after the discovery.

The archaeologist "didn't even bother to supply a description, which is amazing for an exceptional work found intact," Stierlin said.

Hawas agreed with him regarding the report, but attributed it to the fact that the French archaeologists in charge of Egypt's antiquities at the time were not present in Tel al-Amarna where the bust was discovered.


Title: Re: Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 21, 2009, 02:29:05 pm








In a recently published book, Stierlin claims that Berlin's famous Nefertiti bust -- one of the prides of the city's world-class collection of museums -- is actually a fake. Stierlin claims that Ludwig Borchardt, the leader of the excavation that found Nefertiti, had the sculptor Gerhard Marcks make the bust in 1912 to serve as a display piece for a necklace that had recently been unearthed. "Until then, one could only see Nefertiti as she was depicted on bas reliefs," Stierlin told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "Borchardt wanted to see her in three dimensions."

Stierlin's theory sounds exciting -- and it has proven adept at generating headlines. He says that when Johann Georg, a Saxon duke, visited the tomb in the Egyptian city of Amarna, they were immediately taken by the beauty of the bust. Borchardt, rather than exposing the naiveté of his royal guests, elected to keep the truth to himself.

Art historians have their doubts about this theory. "As to whether Nefertiti is a fake, I can't say for sure," says Ari Hartog, the curator of the Gerhard Marcks Haus, an art museum in Bremen devoted to the works of the famous 20th century German sculptor. Stierlin's theory has been lent credence by the fact that Borchardt's expedition included someone named Marcks. Hartog, though, says it was most likely the artist's brother. If the Nefertiti bust is indeed fake, says Hartog, "it's definitely not something made by Marcks."


Title: Re: Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 21, 2009, 02:31:56 pm








You Can Prove A Fake, But Not An Original



Dietrich Wildung, the curator of the Berlin's Egyptian Museum -- and a long-time friend of Stierlin -- is even more emphatic in his dismissal of Stierlin's ideas. "We would not put an even remotely questionable object on display for 700,000 visitors to see every year," Wildung says.

Despite such doubts, Stierlin refuses to back down. "It's dishonest to display this object when you know it's not authentic," Stierlin insists.

One might think that the debate is superfluous -- that the matter could be settled simply by testing the bust's age. Unfortunately it's not so simple. And its further complicated by the fact that, the closer one considers the Nefertiti bust, the clearer it becomes that very little is known about it.

"You can prove a fake, but you can't prove originals. That's an epistemological problem," Stefan Simon told SPIEGEL ONLINE. Simon is a material scientist who directs the Rathgen Research Laboratory, which belongs to the association of national museums in Berlin. As a scientist, Simon's main allegiance is to the evidence. At the same time, though, his employers have a clear interest in disproving Stierlin's theory.

That, though, is a difficult prospect. Radiocarbon (C-14) dating measures the decay of radioactive carbon isotopes, necessitating samples of organic material. Nefertiti, though, is largely free of such material. A bit of wax was allegedly found in Nefertiti's right eye. When it was carbon-dated a few years back, scientists concluded that might be more than 3,300 years old.

Still, the wax sample's path from the bust's eye to the laboratory was long. It was obtained in 1920 by Friedrich Rathgen, the chemist who first directed the laboratory that now bears his name. For decades, Rathgen's sample lay in a small specimen bag in the museum before finally being dated, opening the door to doubt.


Title: Re: Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 21, 2009, 02:33:31 pm
(http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,1522562,00.jpg)

Swiss art historian Henri Stierlin claims that Nefertiti's statue was actually made by archaeologists to display an ancient necklace.

The paucity of organic material on the bust makes it difficult to date it using carbon-dating techniques.










Debating the Evidence



The paint used on the bust yields even fewer clues as to its age. The pigments are all made from minerals, meaning carbon dating cannot be used. Simon points to the network of fissures and cracks in the paint on the surface of the bust. "I cannot imagine that one could reproduce that artificially," he says.

But Stierlin is unimpressed by such details. "People who know how to counterfeit paintings can also reproduce this craquelé effect," he says, referring to an artistic technique that makes surfaces show very small breaks so as to seem old.

Simon also points out that the complicated painting technique used on the bust, leading him to believe that it much older than 100 years. Under a microscope, Simon has found at least five different layers of paint layered one upon the other: first a layer of white paint with blue undertones, then white, then yellow, then blue, then red.

"Everyone knows that Borchardt possessed large quantities of pigment," Stierlin counters. He claims that Borchardt used the samples for experimentation.


Title: Re: Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 21, 2009, 02:35:49 pm








The organic agent used to bind the paint is also not available in sufficient quantities to enable testing. The traces of straw in Nefertiti's headdress could, in theory, also be used. But testing would have be refined such that only a very tiny amount of material is used to avoid harming the bust, Simon says.

And then there's the matter of the left eye. According to Stierlin, Nefertiti never had a left eye. The right is made from quartz and beeswax darkened with soot. If there was a bit of telltale wax where the left eye once was, it could be tested. But up to now, no one has tried -- perhaps out of fear of damaging the statue. Simon says that there are traces of paint of the same type used in the right eye.

The sculpture is composed of the so-called Amarna-mix, a blend of gypsum anhydride plaster applied on top of a limestone base. The material is named after Tel el-Amarna, a small city in central Egypt founded by Pharaoh Akhenaton in the 14th century B.C. That is also where the bust of his queen would be found in 1912.

"This special blend was unknown before 1912," said Simon says, which would mean that Borchardt and his contemporaries could not have known its exact composition. Currently, researchers are comparing material used in the Nefertiti bust with that utilized in statues of her husband, Akhenaton, and other artifacts from the Amarna period. A model of her husband is also currently in Berlin -- lying in storage in much worse condition.

The secrets held by Nefertiti seem almost endless, despite the bust having been an object of all manner of tests for years. Why, for example, was so much oripiment, a toxic arsenic sulfide, used in the yellow paint? And just how solid is the bust? In a recent examination using a remote sensing technique known as video holography, Simon and his colleagues found damaged areas around the statue's headdress and upper chest. The scientists are particularly worried about the condition of the layered paint, bits of which have been flaking off for years.


Title: Re: Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 21, 2009, 02:37:30 pm
(http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,1522538,00.jpg)

Henri Stierlin says it is "dishonest" to exhibit an artwork whose authenticity is not proven.

But Dietrich Wildung, head of Berlin's Egyptian Mudeum and a longtime friend of Stierlin, emphatically defends the bust's provenance.

"We would not put an even remotely questionable object on display for 700,000 visitors to see every year," Wildung says.









One Mysterious Lady



The debate about Nefertiti's authenticity is not likely to go away any time soon. The emblematic character that makes her so attractive also makes her the perfect blank slate for theories like Stierlin's. And he's not alone, as the Berlin-based historian Erdogan Ercivan also maintains that the bust is a fake. And even if the evidence supporting such doubt is scant, the suspicion is difficult to explain away.

Simon dreams of one day hosting a colloquium of experts drawn from the world's best museums, who would work together on unlocking some of the statue's secrets. Perhaps they could come from London's British Museum or the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where Simon used to work. Or maybe from the Louvre in Paris, whose lab employs 180 people.

Simon's lab in Berlin, on the other hand, has 12. And the slow pace of the current work guarantees that, for the time being, the mysteries surrounding Nefertiti will remain just that.

For his part, Henri Stierlin says he can wait. "They know I'm right," he says.


Title: Re: Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 21, 2009, 02:47:21 pm
(http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,1522570,00.jpg)

The bust continues to entrance visitors. Even royals are not immune -- British Crown Prince Charles (left) and his wife Camilla (right) admire Queen Nefertiti's beauty during a recent visit to Berlin -- but they were only looking at a reconstruction of the bust.

Nefertiti will find a new home this year in the newly renovated Neues Museum.


Title: Re: Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES
Post by: archaeologist on June 21, 2010, 04:22:04 am
Just so you know, a lot of 'facts' about ancient items are mere opinion and are very subjective. given the many controversies that have taken place over the james ossuary and the ivory pomegrante it is not cut and dried that an artifact is a fake or not and too many 'experts' can take different sides.

there are many reasons why an item was made the way it was and with the material that was used and not every artifact has to be made in the exact same way as other ones from the same time period. if that were so then plastic frisbees would be considered fake if they were found after ,for the sake of argument, a wooden one.


Title: Re: Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES
Post by: Shana on June 21, 2010, 07:12:07 am
Do you think this one is a fake?