And finally I got one, today in the mail! And it's even larger than the one I drooled over in the Metropolitan Museum of Art catalog! There are advantages to growing up.
Nefertiti, whose name means the beautiful one has arrived, born about 1370 B.C. and died about 1330 B.C., was the wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, who changed his name to Akhenaten. They ruled about 12 years in Egypt's 18th Dynasty. Sounds pretty boring, except that Akhenaten and Nefertiti were rebels who enjoyed unprecedented power.
This one God idea, monotheism, was unheard of in their day, but somehow this was revealed to them, and the polytheistic priests didn't appreciate it. Neither did the artisans who had a good business carving the countless images of the many gods. With both religion and business down on them in the capital of Thebes, Akhenaten and Nefertiti, I imagine with knowing grins, abandoned the renowned city and moved out into the desert, and built a new capital at Amarna. There images of all the gods other than Aten, the one true God, were forbidden.
They were also considered by some scholars to be pacifists to a fault. As distant allies were attacked by Egypt's enemies, Akhenaten and Nefertiti were accused of not sending warriors to help them, and so Egypt lost much of its power. So this Pharaoh and Queen are thought to have been sort of the "flower children" of their day, trying to create a utopian life in Amarna. Eventually the corruption of the polytheistic priests, and the many people who didn't really want to give up their pet gods, overwhelmed Akhenaten and Nefertiti and their dream; and the couple, first he and then she, disappeared, cause of death uncertain.
This bust of Nefertiti is one of the most copied pieces of ancient Egyptian art, attributed to the sculptor Thutmose. When the capital moved back to Thebes, Amarna was left to the winds, along with several images of the beautiful Nefertiti left behind in Thutmose's shop because no one wanted them. The original bust of Nefertiti now sits in Berlin's Neues Museum.
And the Heiress, Great in the Palace, Fair of Face,
Adorned with the Double Plumes, Mistress of Happiness,
Endowed with Favors, at hearing whose voice the King rejoices,
the Chief Wife of the King, his beloved, the Lady of the Two Lands,
Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti, May she live for Ever and Always.
For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.