The Nefertiti Summit: Will the Evidence Finally be Revealed?

   Posted by: Keith Payne   

Categories: Egypt in the News

nefshadow-tabAs the director of the Egyptian section of the Neues Museum in Berlin prepares to meet next month with Egyptian officials regarding the future of the bust of Nefertiti, both sides are beginning to hint at what evidence they may offer to support their respective positions. 




In a recent Em Hotep! article (Nefertiti, the Life and Death of King Tut, and KV64: The October Checklist) we noted that Dr. Zahi Hawass had promised to reveal his evidence that German archeologist Ludwig Borchardt had used “unethical tactics” to acquire the famous bust of Nefertiti for his home country.  In particular, the evidence was to be made public in October when he wrote a letter to Berlin demanding the artifact’s return.  It now seems that the evidence is being withheld for the upcoming Nefertiti Summit.

According to a November 4, 2009, article from France 24, Germany and Egypt plan talks over Nefertiti statue, the German and Egyptian panels both intend to present their facts at the December 8th meeting.  The article quotes Hawass as stating:

“Our side will highlight documents showing the statue left in an illegal way, including ones that prove that in the allocation of antiquities discovered by a German team, (nothing) indicated the presence of a statue in the German share.”

There is actually nothing new about that particular revelation.  In a late August article that appeared on Al-Ahram Weekly On-line, Queen of Egypt’s Heart, Jill Kamil explained:

“According to the excavation regulations of the Antiquities Service, which was under French control until the 1952 Revolution, objects sans pareil (i.e. without equal, or unique) would be retained in Egypt as part of the national collection, and the excavator was entitled to half of whatever remained provided that the result of his work was published within two years. The excavation was well documented by Borchardt but no mention was made of the painted bust of Nefertiti, which was taken out of the country in unclear circumstances.”

Dr. Hawass does reveal one fascinating tidbit—Borchardt may have smuggled the iconic statue out of Germany under a coating of clay.  Exactly how, and why, this particular fact came to be documented will be interesting to see.

Germany is expected to provide evidence that the bust was acquired legally and above the board.  This evidence will also have to be particularly compelling, as the bust of Nefertiti seems to pass the sans pareil test pretty easily.  It would seem that in order for the Germans to be able to lay claim to such an artifact “through legal channels” somebody fairly high up in the Egyptian Antiquities Service must have signed off on the exchange.  Given that the Antiquities Service was under French management at the time, it is unlikely the Egyptians will be satisfied with Germany’s evidentiary documentation regardless of whose signature is attached.

The Nefertiti Summit seems to indicate Dr. Hawass has renewed his resolve to repatriate the bust of Nefertiti.  In a recent interview with Spiegel Online International Hawass seemed to have softened his stance, being open to a possible future trade of other artifacts in exchange for the bust, or even borrowing it on the condition it would be returned to the Neues Museum (source).  Given Berlin’s position that the bust is too fragile to move, rationalizing moving it twice for a loan seems contradictory.  Hopefully the issue will be put to rest one way or another on December 8th.


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This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 at 1:38 pm and is filed under Egypt in the News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

8 comments so far

Stan Parchin

What’s most important here is the bust’s integrity. An impartial panel of experts should be set up to determine if the sculpture is fit to travel. Once that’s established, then and only then should the issue of its ownership be raised. One would think that a group of esteemed Egyptologists would be sensible enough to take the bust’s welfare into consideration FIRST.

November 5th, 2009 at 8:34 am

Hi Stan, thanks for contributing.

That does seem to be the most sensible first step. If the bust is not fit for travel then the rest of the debate is moot. If it is determined that it is stable enough to survive the trip, then the issue of fragility is no longer a valid reason for Germany to retain ownership and we are back to the evidence of Borchardt’s guilt or innocence.

That, by the way, is an issue that seems to have been lost in this entire debate. An Egyptologist’s legacy is on the line. I am not proclaiming Ludwig Borchardt’s innocence, I tend to side with those who think there is reason to question the circumstances under which the artifact was acquired, although I also agree with your statement that its safety is consideration number one. If it is not stable enough to be transported, but Egypt proves that it was stolen, then some other means of reparation can be determined.

But Borchardt’s guilt or innocence, if either can actually be established, is a part of the history of the bust of Nefertiti and should go on the record. It is also a matter of a person’s reputation and how they are represented by history. If there is evidence of his guilt or innocence then that is a historical artifact as well. If no such evidence exists and these public insinuations are for the purpose of sensationalizing a story, then this is a disservice not just to Borchardt, but to all of us.

Hopefully the Nefertiti Summit will settle the matter once and for all, and resolution doesn’t even have to establish Borchardt’s guilt or innocence. All we are asking is that all of the evidence be revealed. Regardless of what else may or may not be settled, full disclosure alone, by Egypt and Germany both, would be a victory for history and Egyptology.

November 5th, 2009 at 12:36 pm
Edgard Mansoor

Saying that the Nefertiti bust is too fragile to travel is only an excuse invented by Mr. Wildung since more than 90 years ago, this very bust had traveled from Egypt to Germany under suspicious circumstances, and ESPECIALLY under WORSE conditions than it would, if it is to travel today from Germany to Egypt.

After all the publicity that has been made during the last few months, that the bust is not authentic, Germany wouldn’t want to return it because the authorities of the Berlin Museum have long known that it is not ancient; and if it is sent back to Egypt, Dr. Hawass will have it examined by an international team of scientists, and it will be found that it is an “Art Nouveau” work, just like the blue glass head of Tut-Ankh-Amon and the wooden head of a harp of Akhenaten, both of the Louvre Museum which, for more than 60 years were thought to be authentic, but finally turned out to be forgeries after having been examined by the scientists of the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and those of the Louvre Museum.

Put the Akhenaten head of a harp, the blue glass head of Tut-Ankh-Amon and the Nefertiti bust next to each other, and you will realize that all three fit within the style frame of “Art Nouveau” works of art.

Mr. Henri Stierlin, author of “Le buste de Nefertiti, une imposture de l’egyptologie” said that the bust fits better in the vitrine (the window) of a Beauty Salon than in the showcase of a Museum, and he is right.

In fact, in a letter dated September 9, 1983, before Wildung was made Director of the Berlin Egyptian Museum, he wrote the following in his “Historical-Stylistic” analysis of the bust: 1)it is an ice-cold perfection, 2)it is a lifeless work of art, 3)no proper style of the amarna period is perceptible in it, and 4)it is a fabricated work (from page 47 of “Le buste de Nefertiti…”

Fabricated it is: it had been executed by the 22-years old gifted German sculptor-painter by the name of Gerardt Marks, and since according to Wildung himself, an artist ALWAYS works under the influence of the style of his time, not only Marks made the bust under the influence of Art Nouveau style, but Borchardt himself accepted it the was it ended up, that is under the influence of Art Nouveau.

You see now why Wildung tried his best to fool the world by saying that the bust will never get to Egypt in good health.

When he became the Museum’s director, he changed his mind in order to protect the reputation of Borchardt and that of the Museum, and of course because the bust attracted some 7 to 8 hundred thousand visitors to the museum (quite an income), and Wildung getting a beautiful salary plus a bonus, year after year for 16 years.

The only thing left for the Berlin Egyptian Museum to regain its integrity is to return the bust to Egypt, or ADMIT that, having been made in Germany, it had been smuggled into Egypt then smuggled out, OR have an international team of scientists examine it, but NOT under the supervision of Wildung, because the latter knows how to influence an individual, just like the dealer who told my late father: “An object does not have to be authentic; what is important is that <> to deal with Museums”.

Get the point?

Edgard Mansoor

November 8th, 2009 at 8:10 am
Edgard Mansoor


In my above posting, last phrase to read as follows: An object does not need to be authentic; what is important is that “you must know how to deals with museums”.

Sorry about that. I apologize.
Edgard Mansoor

November 8th, 2009 at 8:22 am
Edgard Mansoor

Subject: Sir Winston Churchill, the M.A.C. Nefertiti & Wildung

Sir Winston Churchill:

First, I must thank the late Sir Winston, as he is one of the most intelligent and one of the greatest statesmen in the world.

Sir Winston said: “A rumor gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

Fellahin, dragomen, Egyptian bazaar peddlers of scarabs, amulets, ushabtis and forgeries, jealous dealers and art historians who condemn authentic works for spite, Cooney, Muller and Wildung, all joined forces to spoil the reputation of the Mansoors, and destroy their amarna collection. That sounds like “Goliath” fighting “little David”. The Mansoors didn’t do anything to them; but why would they do that to the Mansoors? The rumor started in the early 1930s and is ending with the Wildung dynasty. Intelligent Egyptologists listened to: “from the fellahin to Wildung’s beautiful talk”, but not anymore.

It’s about time now to say something that the late Dr. Harold J. Plenderleith told me when I went to see him in Rome in 1961, to get his opinion about the M.A.C.: “Mr. Mansoor, Dr. Plenderleith said: “It’s going to be a long and painful fight, but don’t give up”. We never did; we listened to him.
Did Dr. Plenderleith knew what was going to happen? Yesss! That’s for sure.

Was Dr. Plenderleith right? Yesss, of course he was; It’s been 60 long years since it all started. It’s been very long, and very painful fighting bad giants But then, Sir Winston said: “Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it, and ignorance may deride it; but in the end, there it is. We’re getting there.

The Mansoor Amarna Collection:

Since it has been up on “the Web”, by December 20th of 2008, the M.A.C. website, http://www.mansooramarnacollection.com has been visited 105,204 times. On November 7, 2009, the total number of visits jumped to 266,544; that means that between December 20th 2008 and November 7, 2009, the M.A.C website has been visited 161,340 times, a staggering average of 499 visits per day. The statistic on the M.A.C website has been brought up-to-date.
Good for the Mansoors, bad for Wildung. Le bonheur des uns, fait le malheur des autres.

Nefertiti & Wildung:

Thanks to the Nefertiti bust, the Berlin Egyptian Museum and Wildung made plenty of money. Today Nefertiti is a problem. At first, in his letter of September 9, 1983 addressed to the author Henri Stierlin, in his “Historical/stylistic” analysis of the bust, Wildung had said that the bust is: 1) an ice-cold perfection, 2) a lifeless work of art, 3) no proper style of the amarna period is perceptible in it, and 4) it’s a fabricated work of art. I know that what I’m saying is a repeat, but it has to be done to remind the world about Wildung, the double-faced man.

Doesn’t Wildung also repeat day and night that the M.A.C is a forgery? How would he feel if, day and night I repeat that he is a fake Egyptologist, a hypocrite, a man who tricked his friend, geologist Prof. Dr. Dietrich Klemm, into endorsing his own article of “FALSCHE PHARAONEN”, the one who taught Fiechter to lie, a man who said the Nefertiti bust must never leave Germany, like somebody else, 80 years ago, in the 1930s, said it before him. Maybe Dr. Hawass should let him be stuck with the bust since it is a forgery. There are more than 10 reasons why the bust is a forgery. Put the glass head of Tut-Ankh-Amon, and the wood head of a harp of Akhenaten, (both forgeries of the Louvre Museum), put them next to the Nefertiti bust, and you got there the BEST EXAMPLE of “Art Nouveau Style”. Is it any wonder that Stierlin said that the Nefertiti bust fits better in a “Beauty Salon” than in a Museum showcase? Thanks to Borchardt and to Wildung, father, mother and son, or son-in-law, reunited under false pretence.

Then Mr. Wildung was made Director of the Museum, not because of his experience or knowledge about Egyptian Art, since there are many, too many German Egyptologists who are more experienced and more intelligent than him, Egyptologists who know how to use common sense; but because the high officials of the Berlin Museums had been fooled and mislead by him; they though that being a friend of Henri Stierlin, he would be well placed and very capable of convincing the latter not to proceed with his investigation regarding the pedigree of the Nefertiti bust which had been suspected not only by Stierlin , but also by Wildung himself.

At this time, because of his beloved Nefertiti bust, I believe Wildung is going through hell, and I encourage him to keep going.



The following is more cheerful than talking all the time about Willie.

Once upon a time a lady by the name of Bessie Braddock told Sir Winston Churchill: “Sir, you are drunk”. And Sir Winston answered: “Madam, you are ugly. In the morning I shall be sober”.

Another lady didn’t learn a lesson. Nancy Astor told Sir Winston: “Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison”. Sir Winston answered: “If I were your husband I would take it”.

Why can’t Wildung be as intelligent and as smart as Sir Winston? If ever he tries, I would honestly call him : Sir Wildung .

November 9th, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Mr. Mansoor,

Thank you again for your exhaustive treatment regarding the authenticity of the bust of Nefertiti. It is always a pleasure to read your contributions!

I have not forgotten about our discussion about interviewing you about the Mansoor Amarna Collection and writing an accompanying article, I have just found myself buried under other projects. Perhaps in the meantime I should talk to you about writing a more formal piece for Em Hotep! about the bust of Nefertiti…

November 10th, 2009 at 11:58 pm
Edgard Mansoor

The magazine “Toutankhamon” No. 47 came out on January 25, 2010, and is featuring an article about the Mansoor Amarna Collection.

There is a picture of an Akhenaten head from the Mansoor amarna collection on the front cover of the Magazine, and the publisher was kind enough to give the Mansoors permission to put this front cover on the website of the Mansoor Amarna Collection website at http://www.mansooramarnacollection.com and link the M.A.C site to that of Toutankhamon magazine.

On November 21 and 22, 2009 Michel and Edgard Mansoor went to Nancy, France to attend the festivities that had been planned in memory of the late Dr. Etienne Driton 120th birthday anniversary, and have offered two sculptures from the Mansoor collection to the CSED (Centre Scientifique Etienne Drioton) that have been accepted heartily by this institution.

If you wish to visit the M.A.C website, on the front page of this site you’ll see one head of Akhenaten from the collection which had been the subject of admiration by Dr. Driton, Professor Alexander Varille and Dr. Sami Gabra, the Coptic Egyptian Egyptologist, due to the unusual drastic slanting of the eyes of Akhenaten.

If you click on this picture of Akhenaten on the front cover of the Totankhamon, magazine, it’ll get you to the site of this magazine, and if you click on “Mansoor amarna collection on facebook”, it will get you to facebook where you’ll see also some featured headlines and pictures taken in Nancy at the grave of the late Dr. Drioton, where a bouquet had been placed by Mr. Jean-Marie Voiriot, President of the CSED on behalf of the City and of Mr. Andre Rossinot, Mayor of Nancy, as well as the members of the CSED.

Within the ten days after Toutankhamon Magazine went out for sale and mailed to the subscribers, the Magazine registered almost 310 new subscribers. It is sent to subscribers in over 55 countries around the world. I wonder if People are interested in reading French or reading about Egypt.

On Sunday February 7th of this month, Mr. A.K.Eyma announced the magazine to the members of EEF, for which we, the Mansoors, thank him for his kindness in spreading the word.

Some article titles of the magazine:

>>Djed pillar
>>Mansoor Collection:Genuine or fake ?
>>Drioton at Nancy, special event
>>Opet Feast and the royal ka at Luxor
>>Ancient Egypt at Vatican
>>Neues Museum: the new galleris of
ancient Egypt
>>KV63: long interview with Otto Schaden
>>surprice inside Lyon’s mummy !
and others.
The Magazine is in French.

Best regards to all,
Edgard Mansoor

February 8th, 2010 at 1:17 pm

How can the bust be authentic if in his letter dated September 9, 1983 sent to Mr. Henri Stierlin, Dietrich Wildung wrote in his “Historical-Stylistic Analyses of the bust,” worded” on the letterhead of the “Direktion der Staatlichen Sammlung Agyptischer Kunst, Munchen” that the bust is 1} an ice-cold perfection; 2} a lifeless works of art; 3} not one shred of amarna style is perceptible in it, and 4} a fabricated work of art? (please see page 47 in Stierlin’s book of “Le buste de Nefertiti, une imposture de l’egyptologie).

Stierlin had asked Wildung to write the preface for his book, and Wildung had gladly accepted (see pages 30 & 31 of “Le buste……) and now, Mr. Stierlin does not want to have his book translated in English. When I sent him an email and proposed that he should have his book translated so that English speaking persons and the World of Arts and Sciences could read it in order to be aware of what Wildung had said about the bust in his capacity as the “International Leading Egypologist” , he said that his publisher does not want to do it. I told him I would be happy to do it for him with at no cost, but he refused and added: “If you do, you’ll be like a pirate”. I posted my conversation with him on the website of “Thoth-Scribe” as well as most chapters of his book in English. It is only fair that everybody knows about it.

It is very clear that he does not want English-speaking Egyptologists to read what he had told Stierlin about the bust, and now it is Stierlin that does not want his book to be translated. Has Wildung been able to convince Stierlin after the delegation he had sent to Geneva (see next paragraph) had failed? “MONEY TALKS”.

When he became Director of the Berlin Egyptian Museum, he sent a delegation headed by Egyptologist Rolf Krauss to Geneva to convince Stierlin to give up his investigation about the bust, but the delegation failed. Wildung then sent him a letter telling him that now that he has been hired as Director by the Museum’s Board of Trustees, he must follow the Museum’s rules, meaning he can no longer claim the bust is a fake as he had written in his “Historical/Stylistic Analyses of the bust”.

In doing so, he exposed the Museum’s Board of Trustees as that the Board Members knew the bust is a fake and did not want anyone to revive the rumor that has been going on since the supposed discovery of the bust, or say or even suspect that the bust is a fake.

In summoning scientists to prove the bust is authentic, the “CT scans” proved more that it is a fake since a full-fledged sculptor, especially the leading sculptor of a “Royal Workshop” would “never” carve a royal portrait from a natural stone, then cover it with plaster as it would be considered a “lese-majesty” to cover a royal portrait with a material such as plaster, a cheap material that was spread by masons on walls and ceilings of dwellings, tombs and temples to smooth their surfaces so that they be ready to be painted.

In any even, the sculptor had no intention of covering the bust with plaster, since “IF” he had any such intention, he wouldn’t have had to give Nefertiti a face-lift as the CT scans showed the sculptor had made some retouching on Nefertiti’s face, and if he had an intention of covering the bust with plaster, why did he do some retouching on Nefertiti’s face?

There are many more reasons why the bust is a fake, all of which I have listed on the website of “Thoth-Scribe”.

The Honorable George Xanthos, Judge of the “Superior Court of the State of California, in and for the County of Los Angeles”, has stigmatized Dietrich Wildung an “intellectually dishonest man”. And in not extending Dietrich Wildung’s contract with the Museum by another six months in order for him to have the honor and privilege of becoming the first Director of the “New Berlin Egyptian Museum”, the Board of Trustees has rejected him as Dr. Richard Fazzini rejected John Cooney in his letter dated January 7, 2002, addressed to Mr. Samuel Huang of Taipei, Taiwan.

One may think that I have an axe to grind for Dietrich Wildung because he spread the rumor that the Mansoor amarna collection is a forgery which is not the case since Prof. Leon Silver of “CALTECH” has authenticated the collection “beyond ANY AND ALL reasonable doubts” and said collection has been backed up by the late Dr. Harold J. Plenderleith, former Director of the British Museum Laboratory, then “Founder and First Director Emeritus” of ICCROM under UNESCO. This is in order not to say that altogether more than 25 of the most honorable Egyptologists and Scientists have also authenticated the collection.

Wildung has also desecrated the memory of Honorable deceased persons such as the late Dr. Etienne Drioton and Isabel and M.A.Mansoor, to satisfy his ego, and ignored the wish of H.H Pope John Paul II by influencing the Directors of the Louvre and Vatican Egyptian Museum to remove from public exhibit amarna sculptures the Mansoor brothers and sisters had offered these museums to illustrated the memory of the deceased.

To read all documents related to Wildung’s criminal actions, please visit: http://www.mansooramarnacollection.com

Edgard Mansoor

P.S: Wildung who fought for 20 years to save the Nefertiti bust he had viciously condemned, did not write one single word for the catalog of the Big Nefertiti exhibit.

September 13th, 2013 at 6:26 pm

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