Demands by Egypt for the return of Queen Nefertiti’s bust to Cairo have been turned down by Germany. State Minister for Culture Bernd Neumann argued the statue rightfully belonged to Germany.
Neumann rejected Egyptian claims that the bust had been unlawfully acquired by the German Oriental Company in 1913 and had also lawfully passed on to the Prussian state, according to Earth Times. Neumann said:
This is doubtlessly backed by documents. Egyptian legal claims for the return of Nefertiti thus lack any basis.
The bust of Nefertiti is staying in Berlin.
Feisty Egyptian antiquities boss Zahi Hawass announced last week he would formally request Nefertiti’s return to Egypt.
The 3,500-year-old sculpture, discovered during a 1912 excavation at Tell al-Amarna, has pride of place in Berlin's recently refurbished New Museum.
Part of the argument hinges on the fact that Berlin recently refurbished its New Musuem, with the 3,500 year-old Nefertiti bust a main centre of attraction. Hawass argues the bust was taken out of Egypt illegally.
German culture minister Neumann said the items discovered in 1912 by German archaeologists was equally divided by the Egyptian antiquities service and the German expedition. He said of the remaining share, the Nefertiti bust was assigned to the Germans’ share.