May my nose and ears be cut off: Practical and “supra-practical” Aspects of Mutilation in the Egyptian New Kingdom

13 Dec 2017

This paper investigates mutilation of the nose and ears in New Kingdom Egypt (c. 1550-1070BCE). The topic is first contextualised within cross-cultural mutilation research, before discussion shifts to focus more closely on Egypt. The threat of mutilation in oaths is considered, as is the possibility of mutilation not being enforced if such oaths were broken. The paper then investigates the lived experience of mutilation, encompassing both physiological and social impairments. Finally, a ‘supra-practical’ aspect is proposed, considering the esoteric connotations of mutilation, this latter understood as a set of practices including but not confined to actual physical dismemberment.