Cairo and Berlin fighting for Nefertiti

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Demands by Cairo for Berlin to hand over the famed bust of 18th Dynasty Queen Nefertiti have spawned a raging debate in Germany over whether the 3 300-year-old art treasure is not actually more of a Berliner than she is an Egyptian. ?The bust has been above ground and visible in Berlin for much longer than it ever was in Egypt,? said the Berliner Zeitung newspaper amid mounting calls by Cairo for the bust to be loaned out to its land of origin, if not actually given to Egypt permanently ?She has become the epitome of slimly modern beauty, the ideal of self-confident modern womanhood,? the paper insisted. There is a grain of truth to that argument, since the bust was found in the ruins of the city of Akhetaten, which flourished a scant 15 years before being abandoned 33 centuries ago. The bust was unearthed there by German archaeologists in 1912. So in fact, it has been ?above ground and visible? in Berlin for nearly a century ? far longer than it ever was in Egypt.The Berlin newspaper argued that the bust has become an icon of Berlin, a veritable cultural landmark associated with the city. Egypt said on Sunday it would seek the temporary return of some of its most precious artefacts from museums abroad, including the Rosetta Stone and the bust of Nefertiti. The exquisite limestone bust of Queen Nefertiti forms the focal point of the Berlin collection, which ranks among the top two or three collections in the world outside Egypt itself.
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