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Newest Nefertiti bust criticized for being too pale

Some say latest, scientific version of Nefertiti is the whitewashing of black history.
Photo credit:
Travel Channel - PR photograph

Some people are criticizing the unveiling of a new bust depicting Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, mother too Tutankhamun, as the “whitewashing” of African history.

The sculpture was recently revealed by Destination Unknown’s Joshua Gates and even had the support of Egyptologist at Bristol University Aidan Dodson, who said "This remarkable face seems to be consistent with ancient representations of Nefertiti.”

But some say that the depiction of the 3,400-year-old queen is inaccurate given the geographic location of Egypt and hieroglyphics which are considered a historic record of people in that part of the world. 

Elizabeth Daynes is the artist responsible for the reconstruction. She used a mummy known as The Younger Lady as a blueprint after it was scanned using 3D technology. The Younger Lady is considered to be Queen Nefertiti after,  "DNA tests conducted in 2010 identified her as the mother of Tutankhamun, full sibling of the male mummy found in KV55 (Akhenaten); and by virtue of that, a daughter of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye."

Daynes says the research for the bust was meticulous.

“This project is very special and very complex," she said. "I worked closely with forensic paleopathologists and anthropologists to determine accurate muscle, skin and soft tissue depth. Everything was meticulously calculated by hand. In all, it took more than 500 hours to create the bust. Even the jewelry was handcrafted by designers who work for Dior.”

Some experts agree that interpretations of the powerful woman have changed over the years and nothing can be 100-percent accurate.

Sophia Aziz, an expert in Egyptian medicine, says she respects the work that has gone into this latest project, "but it looks too much like a collapsed mummified face being given fillers/Botox. How can anyone argue this is exactly how the Younger Lady appeared?” 

Never mind that some are calling the facial reconstruction into question, what is really making people speak up is the bust's skin tone.

As Atlanta Black Star points out: "As an ancient Egypt queen and mother to the legendary King Tut, Nefertiti would’ve likely resembled the darker-skinned inhabitants of the African empire. In the reconstruction, however, she’s only slightly “tanned” with rosy cheeks."

Preston Mitchum, who calls himself an "unapologetically Black and queer civil rights advocate, activist, writer," tweeted his response after the unveiling:

"How arrogant must you be to convince yourself that Ancient Egypt was full of white people without a black person in sight?" tweeted activist Preston Mitchum. "Nefertiti, I’m sorry what they are trying to do to you."