Object of the month

This is where every month we will be showing you a selected object that can be found using the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek. It may be an object that is of particular relevance at the present time, perhaps one time something unexpected and, another time, something well-known. By doing this, we would like to show you the sheer breadth of our inventory and entice you, the user, to embark on a journey of discovery into Germany’s cultural and scientific landscape.

The Model Bust of Queen Nefertit

To celebrate the anniversary of its discovery on 6 December 1912, we have chosen the Model Bust of Queen Nefertit to launch our portal.

The bust is one of the main attractions in Berlin’s Egyptian Museum, which has been once again housed in the Neues Museum on Berlin’s Museum Island since 16 October 2009.


Nefertiti was the chief consort of King Amenhotep IV/Echnaton, who reigned over Egypt from 1353 to 1336 BC. Amenhotep IV converted to a new religion in the first years of his reign worshipping Aton (in Egyptian „the disk of the sun“) as its single god. He assumed the name of Echnaton („living spirit of Aton“) and had a new royal seat built, Akhetaten („Horizon of Aton“), in Central Egypt.

The masterpiece sculpture from the Amarna period was made at the time of the 18th dynasty (New Kingdom) around 1340 BC using limestone and plaster. The painted surface has remained intact since this time without restoration. It is one of the most famous works of art from Ancient Egypt, not least because the sculpture lives up to contemporary ideals of beauty. Nefertiti is not portrayed as a young woman, but as a mature woman whose beauty is accentuated by the delicate wrinkles under the eyes and around the chin, as well as the slightly sunken cheeks.

The bust probably never left the sculpting workshop of Thutmosis. As a masterpiece, it will have served as a model for creating statues of the Queen. The fact that the bust was used in this way might explain why her second eye was never inserted. She also remained behind when the city was abandoned by the King and his people. It was there that she was discovered during an archaeological dig on 6 December 1912 by the German Oriental Society in the royal city of Akhetaten (today Amarna) under the direction of Ludwig Borchardt.

In celebration of this anniversary, the Egyptian Museum and the Papyrus Collection will be presenting a large special exhibition on the Amarna era at the Neues Museum on Berlin’s Museum Island from 7 December 2012 to 13 April 2013.



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