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Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES

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Author Topic: Famed Nefertiti bust 'A FAKE' : Expert - UPDATES  (Read 2441 times)
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« 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.
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