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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Strike a blow for Nefertiti: Leave a Rose for the Imprisoned Queen

Nefertiti bust - Old Museum, Berlin - 2009
On the 8th of April 1930, the Berlin newspaper Der Tag reported on the crowds that gathered to see the bust of Nefertiti, and commented on the roses that were laid before her.
Today, Nefertiti stands in her bullet proof glass cage in the New Museum in Berlin, a solitary figure in a room built to showcase only her.
Her cage is raised, so that visitors look at her from below.

This is designed, according to Claudia Breger in a chapter entitled The 'Berlin' Nefertiti Bust – Imperial Fantasies in German Archeological Discourse, in The Body of the Queen, so that:
A museum visitor of average height is presented with the carefully lit bust at an angle from from below, which lends the face 'something majestic', as Borchardt remarked. The bust is thus exhibited as the royal object of a modern cult.
For the many who visit her and who believe she should be returned to her homeland rather than languish in this new jail of hers, we have a suggestion: do what the visitors in the 1930's did – lay a single rose before her bust, to register your views.
The choice of the color of the rose you lay before her will depend on the message you wish to send.
The color of a rose expresses emotions, so choose the color that will, on the day of your visit to the New Museum to see the queen, express your emotions.
If you want to express your love for the lonely queen, lay a single red rose on the floor before her.
If you wish to symbolize your protest at her continued imprisonment under the grey winter skies of Berlin rather than her return to her perpetually sunny deserts, place a black rose on the floor beneath her cage.

If you want all to know that you are aware of the possible deceit of the German archeologist, Ludwig Borchardt, and the German Oriental Company (or  Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft) he worked for, when he removed her from her desert grave in Amarna in 1912 and took her to Berlin, then select a yellow rose, which significes deceit.
If you want the queen to know that you are fighting, in your own way, including by your laying of a rose before her, for a reconciliation of her image – the bust – with her homeland – Egypt – so that she may return home, then choose a white rose.
If you simply want to indicate that you love this forlornly beautiful queen, then place a simple red rose on the floor as you bow to her.
And when the New Museum authorities prohibit the laying of roses before the queen – something that is almost inevitable, because of the sensation a series of roses would cause – then you can consider resorting to a petal or two, which you can drop near her cage.
Just to let her know that she is not forgotten.

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