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"My Brother Esau Is a Hairy Man"Hair and Identity in Ancient Israel$
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Susan Niditch

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195181142

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181142.001.0001

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Hair in the Material Culture and Art of the Ancient Near East

Hair in the Material Culture and Art of the Ancient Near East

(p.25) 2 Hair in the Material Culture and Art of the Ancient Near East
"My Brother Esau Is a Hairy Man"

Susan Niditch (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the ways in which ancient Near Eastern visual representations may shed light on the role and significance of hair in ancient Israel. Critical throughout are the ways in which artists of various ancient Near Eastern cultures portrayed Israelites and their neighbors. Work with the artistic representations and the material culture of hair underscores critical methodological issues pertaining to the way we see and to the psychological, social, and political dimensions of hair as sign and symbol. The study points further to the complex relationships between hair and identity in cultural and multicultural settings. Important resources include possible depictions of Israelite warriors in the Egyptian relief of Merneptah at Karnak, depictions of Philistines from Medinet Habu, the drawings on storage jars from Kuntillet Ajrud, Judean pillar figurines, the Assyrian depiction of the Israelite king Jehu paying obeisance to Shalmaneser III, and the Assyrian Lachish reliefs.

Keywords:   symbol, Merneptah, Philistines, Medinet Habu, Kuntillet Ajrud, pillar figurines, Jehu, Lachish

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