Nefertiti is certainly the star attraction at the Neues Museum in Berlin. She has a room dedicated exclusively to the famous bust of the queen. I can’t disagree – it IS stunning.
For me though, I love a piece that is a little less formal.
Pictured is a detail from what the Neues Museum labels as “’Stroll in the Garden’ of a royal couple”. This is far from an official portrait; there are no royal cartouches or lofty titles. What we have here is an informal study of the king and his queen. The king is shown leaning on a staff (out of this photo), and his queen holds to his nose a sweet-smelling bouquet of flowers, consisting of a lotus bud and two mandrake fruits. In her left hand she holds more lotuses.
Which king and queen is it? No-one knows for sure. Some say it represents Tutankhamun and his wife/half-sister Ankhesenamun. No less than 130 walking sticks and staffs were found in the young king’s tomb, and CT scans have revealed that Tutankhamun's left foot was crippled with a bone necrosis which would have made walking painful and difficult.
Alternatively, it might be Tutankhamun’s father, Akhenaten, and the beautiful Nefertiti (Ankhesenamun's mother). In 2010 the results of an intensive study of Akhenaten’s remains found in KV 55 were published, and revealed that this king also would have required help to get around; one of his hips was in bad shape, possibly from an injury. As for the queen, the round blue cap-crown seems to be a distinctive feature of Nefertiti’s - particularly in her later years. The downturned mouth and oromental groove (the furrow running down at the corner of the mouth) is also a feature common to images of the queen.
The Neues Museum doesn’t attempt to guess who it might be, but we don’t need to know which queenly figure is represented here to be captivated by this beautiful piece from Egypt's dramatic Amarna Period.