Series | Antiquity Studies
Volume 38 | Monograph | The Broken Body

The Broken Body

Constructing and Deconstructing the Human Figure in the Egyptian Funerary Tradition
open access | peer reviewed
  • Francesca Iannarilli - Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia - email

This book is focused on the anthropologically and historically complex subject of the body in ancient Egypt, with particular emphasis on the so-called ‘funerary literature’ and, more specifically, on the corpus of the Pyramid Texts and its ‘mutilated’ anthropomorphic determinatives. In this perspective, it was necessary to establish a framework for the perception and formal elaboration of the social, political, living, and dead body in iconographic and textual sources, in order to provide an emic basis to start from. Particular attention was paid to the ‘broken body’, understood not only as the physical body but also as its iconographical or material representation, sometimes mutilated, decapitated, treated and manipulated in different ways and contexts. Thus, a deductive process has been carried out, starting from the general and arriving at the particular, to propose some suggestions for a long-debated but still unsolved phenomenon. We thus arrive at the practice of mutilation, or partialisation of the body, which is still scarce in archaeological contexts, but more abundant in iconography and hieroglyphics, as a deliberate, reasoned and motivated work of construction and deconstruction of the human body and its representation. The work will have served its purpose if it succeeds in stimulating new reflections and more in-depth studies of the subject, or at least in throwing a glimmer of light on the shadows that Egyptian thought still ‘casts on the walls of the cave’.

Keywords Anthropomorphic hieroglyphsEgyptian funerary textsMutilationPyramid textsDeterminativesBody

Permalink | ISBN (PRINT) 978-88-6969-830-9 | e-ISBN 978-88-6969-829-3 | Published June 24, 2024 | Accepted May 15, 2024 | Submitted June 26, 2024 | Language it


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