The Nefertiti bust is one of the most famous pieces of ancient Egyptian art that we have. It's thought to have been a master study for others to copy. The Nefertiti bust was discovered sitting on the floor of his ruined workshop in the early 1900s. When Thutmose left his home and studio thousands of years ago, why did he not take the Nefertiti bust with him?

  • 1
    We do not know what others pieces Thutmose had, maybe he had better pieces. Usually an artist creates a whole series of pieces to keep only one of them. Besides, Nefertiti bust is famous not only because is a good piece, but also because is one of the best preserved.
    – Santiago
    May 16, 2017 at 19:08
  • 1
    Citations would help.
    – MCW
    May 16, 2017 at 19:52

1 Answer 1


Nefertiti was the wife of Akhenaten who moved his capital to a newly established city he called Akhetaten, and which we know as Amarna. The move to Amarna was associated with a move to worshipping a different personification of the sun god - the Aten.

Amarna was abandoned shortly after the death of Akhenaten, and the capital moved back to Thebes. Amun returned to prominence as the main deity.

There was a period of rule by a Pharaoh named Smenkhkare, followed by Tutankhamun - "Living image of Amun" (previously known as "Tutankhaten" ("Living image of the Aten")).

The point is, that from the death of Akhenaten, Nefertiti was no longer Queen. There would simply have been much less demand for statues. Furthermore, it seems that statues and inscriptions from the Amarna period were being defaced almost as soon as the city was abandoned. Nefertiti was associated with the former regime, so the market for sculptures probably collapsed when Amarna was abandoned..

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.