MANANA KVATAIA                                                                                                                                                                # 9




The search for enigmatic essence of beauty is a process constantly accompanying human history. In different times and religions its main distinctive feature is the link with the Divine. This fact accordingly defines its eternity and enigma. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel writes: “Beauty can be applied to idea. We should reach the beauty itself as an idea, namely, idea of certain form, as an ideal”(Hegel 1973: 125), because “mind cannot perceive beauty” (ibidem, 131). Actually, the search for the ideal of beauty is the main thing in spiritual creation of all times and people. A desire to comprehend its mystical enigmatic essence has inspired the diversity of fine arts.

As a sample of such search appears modernist writer Grigol Robakidze’s essay “Nefertiti’s Head” written in the German language, which is published in the collection “Demon and Mythos” (Jena, 1935). To conceive it, we should recall one postulate from Hegel’s Aesthetics: “The compositions of Egyptian art with their enigma full of symbolic are a puzzle – an objective puzzle itself” (Hegel 1973: 416). Correspondingly, by wonderful statue of Nefertiti its creator offers us a mystical puzzle and Gr.Robakidze makes an attempt to uncover it. The writer, who is well aware that artistic contemplation starts with amazement, astonishment, observes the creation displayed in the Berlin Museum for hours. Gradually an external or spiritual nature of the ancient Egyptian queen expands in the essay, the surrounding area becomes cinematographically alive, the statue slowly comes to life and we become the participants of enigmatic woman’s peculiar thoughts. Nefertiti’s enigma also is unfolding step-by-step.

Nefertiti’s enigma. According to the essay, an impression made by the Egyptian queen is strong: on Nefertiti’s “perfect, elongated, slightly curved graceful swan-like neck which can sparkle the faded pearls again, a kingly erected head beautifully cut seems to be swinging. The lips are sensuous and passionate; a small wrinkle can be hardly noticed in the corner of a lip which is voracious to earthly pleasures. However, when looking from beneath at the eyes Nefertiti seems to be frightened and one can feel stricktness”. (Robakidze 1935: 11-24) Of special attraction are Nefertiti’s eyes: “shadowed with dark eyelashes big aquamarine blue eyes in which dominate respect and at the same time love for power. They could be totally transparent if they were less frosty”.

 In the static pose of the statue deep inner feeling is accumulated. Robakidze follows Nefertiti’s glance: “Sunblood woman turned her head to encounter the light and her eyes while looking at the boundless horizon turn into stone in serenity. She is looking into the distance but in reality her look is directed toward the inward”. The writer also imagines the scenery on which beautiful woman’s glance stopped: “The sun rays saturate yellow-gold sand the sand is sparkling as if it was the sun’s grains. Blue shadows are descending heavily on the immense lowland and against the background of the ocean light woman’s soft features are emerging”.

And again Grigol Robakidze mesmerizingly beholds the masterpiece: “It seems as if Nefertiti’s head shook and gradually became alive. In front of the creator’s eyes, a woman brought back to life scrutinizes closely the area: “Aquamarine waves of the Nile are graciously and slowly rolling along the dormant sand in midday heat. Together with legendary river a woman is swimming towards infinity. Dreadfully silent a lifeless desert on the Nile lowland comes nearer. It might seem to swallow the river body with its hot exhalation”. A desert, as a symbol of transiency, feels the woman with a deep sorrow of fleetingness. Yes, everything is short-lived, even Nefertiti… A woman before sweet temptation is shining. Will the Sun this “lighted bud which fills the world ocean feel sorry about her?” – he asks sadly. The comparison is quite logical: Nefertiti – Sun’s daughter considers herself to be beloved by the Sun. The queen selflessly sank down into infinity at heart conceives herself a young sprout of Egypt and being proud of it raises the front shoulders ahead up to the height of chin. From the divine lips of the inspired woman a hot pray burst out which words belong to her husband Akhenaton. “You are my heart beat “ , are the final words of Akhenaton’s prayer devoted to the Sun. The writer puts question: may be in these words his beloved is implied?

Grigol Robakidze’s long concentrated look again returns to Nefertiti’s image: this time “the contemplator can experience the affect of this good-quality carving of long head woman only in profile on himself: if you look at her directly in the face feelings can mix”. Again a question arises as to what is concealed beyond Nefertiti’s stony glance. Let us follow it: The Pharaoh’s wife is gazing calmly at infinite stony environment. Hot breathing desert threatens everybody. Sand terrible hurricane wipes all the traces off whether it is of humans or animal. Strongly wandering dunes fill the living sites and cover everything on their way”. Nefertiti is well aware of a destructive effect of deserts. The woman’s thoughts go further. Maybe one day a land becomes increasingly dry, everything turns into desert”.

In spite of endless unexpressed sadness, the queen’s features are calm and serene. She continues her thought. A flash of hope sparkles in Nefertiti when she recalls the words of the High Priest: every July 19th a miraculous drop falls from the sun’s eye into the small stream which takes its beginning from the Elephantine mountains. “It is the very drop which causes the stream to grow into the Nile”, explains the writer. The river will rise, the Earth will revive, almost dried trees will blossom again, dried up streams will murmur and life will become full of joy again. Being inspired with this vision, the woman will breathe with relief and recall festive hymn of “Night of the Drop”: “You will turn green, Oh Nile, you will turn green!’ With this faith the hymn ends and now the writer perceives Nefertiti herself as if she were a drop fallen from the Elephantine mountain sun’s eye, which gives power to the life-giving big river. “She, the Pharaoh’s beautiful wife stares outside but her vision is bold inside. She feels in herself this miraculous seed-bearing drop”, then when she turns into the stormy Nile. Here the queen with inner vision touches the dark side of her own existence in herself and her momentary sensation is similar to that plant which “suddenly perceives own seed in itself”. It a sensation of eternity: “The Pharaoh’s wife now seems like being in her own myth”. Fascinated writer stares at her beautiful face. Now she is reliable and what is more anxiously strange. “She is totally opened in a moment and a moment in her is a silent impression. It is this moment which turns to as an eternity in Nefertiti”.

Here Robakidze uses an essential moment of Nefertiti’s enigma: in her name the unknown sculpture as a true Egyptian, render the mysterious “ka”. The interpretation if this paradigm according to the writer is as follows: “ ka- is an inner substance of the existence: it lives before the creation of the world, realizes itself on the Earth , after the death it transforms into thje sphere of soils. It is a unique image and single. Divinity opens in it. As a result it acquires a sign of timeless duration. It is elusive but at the same time it is well perceived”. Moreover: for an Egyptian each moment is saturated with “ka”. Due to this he loves each moment. “He tries to catch and stop it. Creation of earthly into bodily for him is similar to eternity moment flashed in the decay dust. By this fact Grigol Robakidze explains the fact of human mummification practices by the Egyptians. He remarks that the dead’s name (because the name has special importance) is kept in the mummy. The “ka” is sunk into the mummy. However, the mummy fell into a doze and breathes around with all extraterrestrial”.

From this viewpoint (transition of the moment into eternity) regards the writer the statue of Nefertiti, Phjaraoh’s beautiful wife: “In woman’s image her immortal “ka” breathes: it truly lives, almost immediately perceptible. With a stony calmness it deeply sank in cosmic moment, sweetly and a little thoughtful.”

In the end, completely naturally the writer puts forward a question with sorrow: What fate is predetermined to this amazing statue, who embedded stony eternity moment? “Probably time destroy this material too, -thinks the writer, - but but Nefertiti’s head will not disappear, as well as Beethoven's Ninth Symphony .. Magical music wave , Nefertiti, again live for the eternity” – such is the Robakidze’s last word which sound as beautiful apologia of immortality.



Hegel 1973: G. Hegel Aethetics, v.I (translated from German by Sh.Papuashvili) , Tbilisi: “Khelovneba” publishing house, 1973.

Robakidze 1935: Gr. Robakhidze, Damon und Mythos. Eine magische Bildfolge, Eugen Diederichs Verlag, Jena 1935 p. 11-24 ( translated in English)





Volume 1, issue 1


Rustaveli Institute of Georgian Literature

Georgian Electronic Journal of Literature