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Male Bodies And The Construction Of Masculinity In New Kingdom Egyptian Art

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the means by which New Kingdom artists conveyed the notion of masculinity in elite males without displaying the erect phallus that is its primary marker. Male figures frequently carry the staff and scepter, symbols of authority that mark them out as government officials, a position denied to non-elite men, and children. It is hard to escape the conclusion that the scepter in particular serves as a phallic substitute with the meaning of the erect phallus displaced onto it. At the heart of elite masculinity, lies the concept of authority and empowerment embodied in the erect phallus that forms the hieroglyph used to write the word for "male", and symbolizes the creative and regenerative powers of the creator, sun god, and god of the dead, which every elite man must draw on to father children in this world and bring about his rebirth into the next.

Keywords: elite masculinity; male bodies; New Kingdom Egyptian art; scepter; sun god



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