Featured on the chest in my piano room is a bust of the Egyptian queen, Nefertiti. The piece is a representation of the head and neck, about nine inches tall on a black base three inches in height. It is entirely black and is missing the headpiece featured in the famous bust of Nefertiti in the Neues Museum in Berlin. Instead, the queen appears in this representation as completely bald. The beauty in the bust rests entirely in the face and the shape of the head.
And it is unquestionably beautiful. I so often pause in my daily routine to admire the exquisite proportions of the head and face, the layout of the features, the peacefulness in its perfect balance.
Nefertiti lived from about 1370 to 1330 BC. She was the wife of Akhenaten, an Egyptian Pharaoh who launched a religious revolution, replacing the traditional polytheism of ancient Egypt with monotheism and the worship Aten, the sun disc. Nefertiti eventually abandoned the religion of Aten and was banished by Akhenaten. She committed suicide in grief over the loss of her daughter.
Her name means “the beautiful one is come.” That is certainly fitting. Her bust is arguably the most beautiful of the multitude of artistic pieces I have throughout my house. In her quiet beauty, she dominates the piano room.
Her presence in my house reflects my fascination with the history of ancient Egypt during my youth. The Egyptian empire lasted three thousand years before it became a province of Rome in 30 BC coincident with the suicide of Cleopatra. I marveled that any civilization could exist with relative cohesion longer than the anno domini (AD) period which began 2,020 years ago.
But the beauty of Nefertiti, who lived more than three thousand years ago, is eternal. As long as there are human beings to appreciate beauty, she will be admired.