A short history of the Bust of Nefertiti.




Ca. 1350 BC The sculptor Thutmose creates the bust in the city of Akhetaten. The bust is stored on one of the shelfs in the storeroom in the artist's studio.
The city is abandoned within a decade after the creation of the bust and for some reason the bust is left behind.

1911-1912 The wealthy Jewish banker James Simon funded an expediation to Amarna. The egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt was in charge of the excavations and his team found the bust of Nefertiti. The bust makes its way to Berlin and remains in the private poseesion of James Simon for several years. James Simon kept this bust at a place in his livingroom, often proudly showed of the bust to friends, politicians and businessmen!  Among these visitors was the german emperor Wilhelm II, who greatly admired this work of art. (B Grundle)

1913 As a special gift for his emperor James Simon ordered a copy of this bust and this Nefertiti-copy was officially given to the German emperor Wilhelm II on October the 3rd,  in 1913. This was the first official copy of Nefertiti. (B Grundle)

1920 James Simon donates Nefertiti's bust to the museum.

Early twenties: A copy was made by Tina Wentcher (born Haim). She was commisioned by the the Director of the Egyptian Museum in Berlin to  reproduce the Nefertiti bust and several other pieces.  See also "Living with Egypt's Past in Australia" (1990) by Robert Merrilllees. The section on the Nefertiti Busts covers two pages. The book is fully indexed. (Franz H Thrupp)
Rolf Krauss, 1913-1988: 75 Jahre Büste der NofretEte/Nefret-iti in Berlin, in: Jahrbuch. Preussischer Kulturbesitz, vol. 24, pp. 87-124 (1987) provides the following details about the production of the model of the bust of Nefertiti, citing from a manuscript of Hans Gustav Güterbock (p. 97):
"I have a vague recollection of a scene which must have taken place in the early twenties, before the head was exhibited. I was taken, as a teenager, by my parents to a special room in the museum where Nefertete was kept. In the same room the sculptress, Tina Haim, was finishing her copy of the head of Nefertete. For obvious reason it would have been impossible to take plaster moulds from the delicate bust itself. So Miss Haim made an exact replica, using calipers for measuring. I do not recall what material she worked in, but I think it was stone. All official casts were made from this copy ..."
[This lecture "Personal Reminiscences of Amarna Art in Berlin" was held at the Amarna Symposium of the American Oriental Society in Chicago, 1987]
About the artist http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A160619b.htm (Michael Tilgner)


1925  Sculptor Richard Jenner was allowed to closely measure, examine and sculpt a copy of the Nefertiti bust in 1925. His examination led to the discovery that the stone of the bust is covered with a layer of plaster that allowed better detail in the modeling.  Jenner restored the broken uraeus and ears in his copy. Egyptian painting may be wiped away with a water.  So, since there is no damage to the paint on the bust. any supposition that a direct cast was made from head is -- busted.
The report of Jenner's work with the Nerfertiti bust is published in Rudolf Anthes, "The Head of Queen Nefertete", Berlin, Revised 1973 edition. (Michael Tilgner)

Twenties? Krauss added in footnote 56 (p. 120) that the model from the early twenties was replaced by one based on photogrammetrical studies. However, this model was reworked by the restorator Joachim Lüdcke, as it was not exact enough for producing a new form for plaster casts. See also: Dieter Wölpert, Zur photogrammetrischen Nachbildung der Büste der Nofretete, in: Bildmessung und Luftbildwesen, vol. 37, pp. 271-276 (1969) As a result the fear that the original bust was used to make a plaster cast seems to be unfounded. (Michael Tilgner)

Recent times: More copies we made by taking a cast of one of the 1930's heads (not sure which one).
The person who made the copy explained to me, that it HAD to have been an actual cast of the original, as on the copy it is possible to see brush marks and even places where hair from the brushes used to paint the original had got embedded in the paint. This level of detail would never have been intorduced in any modern, however accurate copy.
The implication is that it has to have been a cast of the original. (Bob Partridge Editor "Ancient Egypt" magazine)

Modern Times: Replica Workshop from the Berlin Museum "The Gipsformerei (Replica Workshop) is the world's largest institution of its kind. Replicas mainly from items in Berlin's museum, but also from European museums, have been produced here for over 150 years. As a result the workshop represents a unique element in the cultural and architectural history of Berlin's museums.The Gipsformerei (Replica Workshop) is the world's largest institution of its kind. Replicas mainly from items in Berlin's museum, but also from European museums, have been produced here for over 150 years. As a result the workshop represents a unique element in the cultural and architectural history of Berlin's museums. " (L.Franke, Berlin)