Cairo: Authorities in the southern Egyptian city of Minya have removed a statue of the ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti after the structure sparked online protests for being an ugly misrepresentation of the 14th Century BC royal.
The statue, whose sculptor was not immediately named, had been set up at the entrance of Minya’s town of Samalut.
Minya’s Governor, Salah Ziada, ordered art officials in Samalut be investigated for putting the controversial statue on display in a public square.
Nefertiti, the wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten, was known for her elegant beauty. Her name literally means the “beautiful one has come”.
The statue has triggered a barrage of online criticism and sarcasm in Egypt over the past few days.
“It is good that Nefertiti had died before she saw this day,” wrote Mahmoud Jaber in a tweet. “It’s Nefertiti, but without make-up!” read the sarcastic comment of another critic called Khukha.
“What happened to this statue is a crime,” posted Reda Abdullah in a tweet.
Local media reported on Tuesday that Culture Minister Abdul Wahid Al Nabawi had discussed with Minya’s governor replacing the controversial statue with a new one “matching the beauty of the ancient Egyptian art”.
Nefertiti is famous for her bust unearthed by a German archaeologist in Minya in the early 20th century.
The bust, which has made Nefertiti an icon of feminine beauty, is now housed in Berlin’s Neues Museum.