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Paddle Dolls and Performance on JSTOR

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Paddle Dolls and Performance

Ellen F. Morris Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt Vol. 47 (2011), pp. 71-103 Published by: American Research Center in Egypt https://www.jstor.org/stable/24555386 Page Count: 33

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Topics: Tombs, Figurines, Priestesses, Dance, Tattooing, Dolls, Women, Necklaces, Excavations, Kingdom of Egypt Give feedback Were these topics helpful?

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  • Journal Info Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt Description:

    The Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt (JARCE) was established in 1962 to foster scholarly research into the art, archaeology, languages, history, and social systems of the Egyptian people. The Journal is an annual publication with articles in English, French, or German and is produced for ARCE by Eisenbrauns, Inc.

    Coverage: 1962-2013 (Vol. 1 - Vol. 49) Moving Wall: 5 years (What is the moving wall?)

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    ISSN: 00659991 EISSN: 23301880 Subjects: Archaeology, Social Sciences Collections: Arts & Sciences V Collection
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Abstract

Paddle Dolls have been interpreted variously as concubines for the dead, as children's toys, or as figurines embodying the concept of fertility and rebirth. This article argues on the basis of eight lines of evidence that they were representations of specific living women, namely the Late Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom khener-dancers of Hathor at Deir el-Bahari. Paddle dolls have been recovered from secure archaeological contexts at very few other sites and only in small numbers, but they are frequently found at Asasif. Their tattoos resemble those found on women buried in the precinct of the mortuary temple. Likewise, their bright, patterned outfits are strikingly similar to those of one particular Theben khener-troupe of Hathor depicted in the tomb of Kenamun (TT 93). The figurines were often interred in groups, and these groups could include a young girl figurine, just as khener-troupes often included girl trainees. The figurines are also found in statistically significant numbers with clappers, harps, and mirrors, all equipment typical of khener-women. The shape of the figurines, it is argued, consciously echoes that of a menat-counterpoise, the sacred fetish of Hathor, and it is suggested that the marked emphasis on the pubic triangle is due to the role of the khener-women in reinvigorating the dead king, which they undertook in the same manner as Hathor had revived her own father, the god-king Re, in the Contendings of Horus and Seth. It is secondarily argued that virtually all of these lines of evidence also apply to the truncated female figurines typical of the Twelfth Dynasty. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt © 2011 American Research Center in Egypt Request Permissions

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