A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

"Frankenstein Nefertiti" is Gone

Samalut's Nefertiti  at left, and the original

Connoisseurs of really bad public art have lost one that deserves a place in the annals of godawful ugly. That it was meant to echo the most elegant depiction of female beauty in the Ancient World adds to the irony.

The famous bust of Queen Nefertiti, now in the Neues Museum in Berlin, is one of the most famous images of Ancient Egypt, and one the Egyptian government would love to repatriate. Souvenir busts of Nefertiti are widely available in the Khan al-Khalili and other suppliers of souvenirs. Some actually resemble the original.

The bust was discovered in 1912 in Amarna, the ancient Akhetaten, capital of Akhenaten and Neferititi. Samalut is an Egyptian city in Minya Governorate, which also contains Amarna, though Samalut is not that close to Amarna. For whatever reason, Samalut decided it needed a sculpture of Nefertiti where the Cairo-Aswan highway enters the town.

The results are at left above. The outcry was immediate, with he press and particularly social media denouncing it as the "Frankenstein Nefertiti."

Ahram Online says it has now been removed. For other coverage see this piece in The Guardian.

Ahram Online says it will be replaced with "a statue of a peace dove." i hope they use a different sculptor so it won't look like a vulture.

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