Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, June 02, 2012

Raymond Betz reports that Dr. Christian E. Loeben has identified a quartzite bust as Nefertiti. See EEF page which for once has great photos. I am just a bit worried that this might be one of those stories where somebody suggests the head "could be Nefertiti" but which grows in each telling so I would prefer to see original material from Dr Loeben, especially since the EEF links includes no details as to why the head is believed to be Nefertiti. I am not saying it isn't Nefertiti, just expressing some caution that the available material is somewhat scant on details.

17 comments:

Stephanie said...

As you say it would be interesting to learn the reasons for the assignment of this piece to Nefertiti.
To me it looks more masculine than feminine, and some traits of the face such as chin, nose and eyes resemble AkhenatenS features in his less exaggagerated representations.
Besides as far as I can see the earlobe is not pierced. Nefertitis portraits most often display double piercing AFAIK.

One would have to see the sculptue from different angles to say more.
Is anything known about the provenance?

Anyway, if this really is a representation of Nefertiti it is not a very flattering one.

Marianne Luban said...

This head is so tiny it probably belonged to a shabti--and there are quartzite shabtis of Akhenaten, though admittedly of much poorer artistic quality. So "quartzite" is not a valid argument for the head representing Nefertiti, IMO.

Kate Phizackerley said...

Well I am pleased its not just me because I also thought more of Akhenaten than Nefertiti. The face seems overly long to be a representation of her.

Marianne Luban said...

In relief, Nefertiti was quite often represented with the features of Akhenaten but I can't think of anything in the round where this is the case. Yet the features of this particular head do seem quite feminine. It's strange. Possibly even Smenkhkare--who knows?

Anonymous said...

It could be surface imperfections but does the larger photo show traces of a diadem with two tails resting on the forehead?

Patrick said...

Although it would be rash perhaps to gamble on the fidelity to the originals of Egyptian art, from the front, the head looks remarkably like those of some Amarna princesses, e.g. figs. 50-53 in 'The Royal Women of Amarna'. The chin is definitely not square enough to be Nefertiti. And it wore a crown of some sort and was probably feminine. Are we perhaps looking at a crowned Meritaten or Ankh-et nKheperu-Re?

Stephanie said...

I have just come across this article
http://judithweingarten.blogspot.ca/2012/06/rare-new-head-of-nefertiti.html
which gives some reasons for and against the identification as Nefertiti.

Kate Phizackerley said...

Thanks Stephanie that's interesting.

Hal said...

Thanks for posting this Kate, it's early days but I'd plump I think for it being Nefertiti - the treatment of the features seems slightly softer to me, albeit from the earlier more grotesque Amarnan style........I did find a little more info, also with a good shot from another angle, here:

http://baaf.be/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Ancient-Egypt_3-pages-of-the-catalogue-of-the-exhibition.pdf

Kate Phizackerley said...

Thanks Hal, I am just heading out of the door but will study the photo later.
Cheers
Kate

Roger Hubert said...

Great to see input of superb comments. This quartzite fragment is a monumental masterpiece in miniature, no question. While this stylized format has similarities in Akhenaten shabti, or candidates Smenkhkare, Meritaten, Ankh-et nKheperu-Re, and perhaps an arena of personalities embraced by this unique period, there is the simple perspective of the sculptor who made this, and its presense as a chipped-off face.
A subtle refined personal portrait is expressed here, not as a typical shabti, rather in quartzite or not. An intimate sure hand that would have known the face of Nefertiti like brail, as well as the royal court, produced this gem.
There is a maturity in this face not present in known princess pieces. It leans to being more feminine the longer it is observed. A fragile noble grace remains. Computer points taken for pupillary distances, etc, of all facial features, and then compared to known Nefertiti faces, might probably find a consistency. The stylized rounding of the chin to a less square one, is in keeping to artistic caricature. While there is no final proof, save more fragments of this artifact with identifying details, it seems to hover toward Nefertiti.
We know many or most faces of Nefertiti were intentional defaced. Such bold acts could produce these whacked chips, rather than mere crystal fracture lines cracking through the ages. Leaves a sad thought to these thin fragments existence maybe being "remains" before us as removed defacement debris. Think of a statue left without these fragments on face, and we could think Nefertiti as a sure candidate victim for such a statue. Food for thought. World-class item it is, no matter what.

rymerster said...

I have nothing to back this up except observations but I believe that the person depicted is one of the Princesses - she looks a bit like Akhenaten and a bit like Nefertiti; we know that Meritaten became Queen (it's in the tomb of Meyre II at Amarna), so it's possible that there are other representations of her in this more senior role.

Kate Phizackerley said...

I think we need to remember that even the famous bust's is not certain to be Nefertiti. My understanding is that is only identified as Nefertiti by the crown but that doesn't seem to rule out Tiye or Meritaten entirely. So our comparators are uncertain too.

Anonymous said...

Its almost certainly not Meritaten or Tiye, facially the famous bust bears no resemblence whatsover to known statuory of these two!

Anonymous said...

There seems to be an assumption in the catalog that because of its size the piece is a shabti. Second that it cannot be Akhenaten because it lacks a beard that his shabti would manifest.Therefore it suggests the figure must be female and royal given the chiseled off Uraeus and a traces of a khat crown.
The item was originally sold to the Swedish collector as a representation of Akhenaten and I see no real hard evidence to change that view. The chin in this picture is similar but again its pure supposition to suggest it proves the piece is Akhenaten.

http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/ancient-art-antiquities/an-egyptian-turquoise-glass-face-inlay-of-5548642-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5548642&sid=40b0e1e5-d37d-49a8-b27d-78b3845b623e

Anonymous said...

On the subject of the figurine I would like to know if anyone has seen quality carving to this degree on any other XVIII Dynasty shabti?

Marianne Luban said...

Yes--those of Tutankhamun--but they are of wood.

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