Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

Nefertiti Missing Eye

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Neferneferuaten Nefertiti (circa 1370–1330BC) was a queen of the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Famous representations of the queen include the Nefertiti Bust, a painted stucco-coated limestone bust depicting Nefertiti discovered in 1912 in Amarna, Egypt by a German archaeological team led by Ludwig Borchardt. The work is believed to have been crafted in 1345BC by the third pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt, Thutmose, as it was found in his workshop. When the bust was first discovered, no quartz to represent the iris of the left eyeball was present as in the other eye and none was found despite an intensive search. Borchardt assumed that the quartz iris had fallen out when Thutmose’s workshop fell into ruin. However, the missing eye led to speculation that Nefertiti may have suffered from an ophthalmic infection and lost her left eye, though the presence of an iris in other statues of her contradicted this possibility. Director of the Berlin Egyptological Museum Dietrich Wildung proposed that the bust in Berlin was a model for official portraits, used by the master sculptor for teaching his pupils how to carve the internal structure of the eye and thus the left iris was not added.

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