‘With your mouth, your eyes and your hands’ - Creator’s corporeality and creation in the religious hymns of the New Kingdom (ca. 1539-1077 BC)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The primary goal of my on-going PhD research is to inventory and consider the phraseology attested in the religious hymns of the New Kingdom (ca.1539-1077 BC), which refers explicitly to the creative process, that is, that sheds some light on the way the world came into existence. I intend to consider the complex identity of the Creator deity, who sets the different Cosmos’s components into being through the performance of distinct tasks. Thus, my research can be structured around three short core questions: who creates?; what is created?; how is it created?. The Creator’s body may be located at the intersection of these questions as it not only qualifies the nature of the Creator but also acts as both a device and a product of the creative activity.
In this corpus, multiple body parts operate as demiurgical tools. The eye(s), for instance, is/are mentioned either in generic creative renderings (e.g., Chicago E 14053, 6) or pointing into the creation of specific beings, such as humans (e.g., TT 296(1), 8-9; TT 158(17); Cairo CG 25207, 7). The anthropogenic feature might also be presented jointly with theogony, that is, the creation of deities, the former being the outcome of the Creator’s eye(s) and the latter of his mouth/lips (e.g., Cairo CG 58038, VI.3; TT 194(8), 5; Hymn of Rameses III to Amun-Re in Karnak, 5). Whereas some instances of the mouth-related creation undoubtedly refer to a verbal act (e.g., BM EA10684 recto, VII.5; Leiden I 344 verso, IX.4-5) others depict a certain ambiguity, as that organ might also perform biological activities, such as spitting. Simultaneously, a higher degree of physicality is implied when the Creator’s arms/ hands are at issue (e.g., Cairo CG 58038, VI.6; TT 106(3), 25; Leiden I 344 verso, V.10). Thought- provokingly, an organ-combined phraseology is as well attested in this corpus, according to which the Demiurge originated the beings with his ‘mouth, eyes and hands/arms’ (TT 194(1), 3; TT 23(15), 3; TT 373(1), 6-7). Furthermore, the Creator’s body is itself created, most commonly utilizing a physical- manual task (e.g., TT 50(7/8), x+4-x+4; Hymn of Tura, 9-13; TT 41(6), 1-2).
In this talk, I intend to consider the place of the Creator’s corporeality and physicality in the religious hymns of the New Kingdom. I shall identify connecting patterns between particular body parts and the creation of specific entities/beings. Moreover, the links between these organs and creative mechanisms and processes (biological, verbal, manual) will be taken into consideration. Envisaging it as both an agent and a recipient of creation, this paper will address the Creator’s body’s role, both synchronically and diachronically, navigating through the cosmogonical perspectives and conceptions embodied in this corpus as a whole.
Period21 Jun 202126 Jun 2021
Event titleNinth European Conference of Egyptologists
Event typeConference
Conference numberIX
LocationTrieste, Italy
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Ancient Egypt
  • New Kingdom
  • Religious Hymns
  • Creator
  • Creation
  • Body