Master of Arts
Egyptian Art and Archaeology
It has often been assumed that the "mutilation" of animate hieroglyphic signs in ancient Egypt was meant to protect the deceased from harm in a tomb context. Using a semiotic perspective, this study will encourage a re-evaluation of this dominant explanation. The Egyptian hieroglyph can be interpreted on both iconic and symbolic levels, making a unilateral reading of any given sign unlikely. "Mutilation" has been expressed in many different ways throughout Egyptian history, from both outside and inside a funerary context, and to several different ends. This study will examine the "mutilation" of bird-signs in the late Middle Kingdom and Thirteenth Dynasty, in particular, to demonstrate that there could be many possible explanations for the practice of "mutilation," including: the provisioning of food for the afterlife, the adaptation of fashionable imagery, or as an oblique reference to the dismemberment of Osiris.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Stanton, Ashley R., ""Legless Birds": A Re-Examination of the Motivating Factors Behind Hieroglyphic "Mutilation"" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 933.