The 'Hunt for Noses': Contextualizing the Wodeyar Predilection for Nose-cutting

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2 Scopus citations


In this article, the evidence of Mysore's 'hunt for noses' within the broader context of nose-cutting in South Asia was examined, namely through the lenses of punishment, humiliation, ritual offerings, and as a military practice. In order to do so, a variety of sources from dharmaśāstric literature and folk narratives, which mentioned nose-cutting, were briefly examined to provide a fuller picture of the many meanings latent within the practice that associate nose amputation with punishment, and as a public mark of humiliation. The Mysore case, however, does not conform to usual characterization of nose amputation in secondary literature. The practice of nose-cutting in Mysore is shown to contain aspects of these broader connotations, but Mysore's practice of nose amputation also remains specific to the Mysore context as an amalgamation of the variety of meanings from the broader Indian context with local military and ritual practice. This article, therefore, is an attempt to build a conceptual framework - a Foucauldian archaeology - through which we can see how the Mysore practice of nose-cutting was meaningful within South Indian medieval politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-185
Number of pages24
JournalStudies in History
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Hinduism
  • Kannada
  • Karnataka
  • Mysore
  • Nose-cutting
  • Wadiyar
  • Wodeyar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History


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