Scottish Daily Mail

The winner by a nose . . .

- Compiled by Charles Legge

QUESTION A nasothek is a collection of noses. Why would we need such a word?

This word was coined by Danish museum curators in 1981.

Many classical statues suffer from missing noses. in the 19th century, museums around the world decided to add their own plaster versions.

However, 20th century curators chose to present each piece in its authentic state and the noses were removed.

The Glyptotek museum in Copenhagen had so many noses that it decided to create a display, the nasothek, which takes its name from the Latin for nose and Greek for container.

Just why so many statues lost their noses is an archaeolog­ical mystery. Lots broke off by accident or were scoured by wind and sand, flowing water and millennia of human interactio­n.

During the archaeolog­ical gold rush of the late 19th and early 20th century, many so-called archaeolog­ists lacked the finer instrument­s and procedures required for proper excavation and damaged the treasures they unearthed.

Iconoclasm — image breaking — was also a factor. The nose on the black basalt head of the Emperor Tiberius’ nephew Germanicus in the British Museum was clearly chiselled off.

Hacking the nose from a sculpture may have been a way to humiliate a deposed or disgraced ruler, or erase or diminish their legacy.

Removal of the nose was a common punishment in ancient times and was called Rhinokopia by the Greeks.

Byzantine Emperor Justinian ii was deposed and punished in this way at the end of the 7th century. he regained power and thereafter wore a gold nose to hide his disfigurem­ent.

Mary Holland, Tavistock, Devon.

QUESTION In political terms, what’s a self-coup?

THE original word was the spanish autogolpe, which translates as self-coup.

It occurs when a legitimate­ly appointed president closes the courts and/or the legislatur­e, suspends the constituti­on and rules by decree until a referendum and elections are held to approve broader executive powers.

A clear example of a self-coup occurred in April 1992 when Peru’s President Alberto Fujimori dissolved Congress, temporaril­y suspended the 1979 Constituti­on and ruled his country by decree until November 1992, when a Democratic Constituen­t Congress was elected to draft a new constituti­on.

A referendum ratified this in October 1993 and Fujimori was re-elected president in 1995.

In 2000, his presidency ended when he fled to Japan amid a scandal involving corruption and human rights abuses.

The term self-coup has been applied to a host of similar incidents in Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela.

It can also be used to describe an elected leader assuming dictatoria­l powers, as in the case of Adolf hitler. John Miller, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

■ IS THERE a question to which you want to know the answer? Or do you know the answer to a question here? Write to: Charles Legge, Answers To Correspond­ents, Scottish Daily Mail, 20 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6DB; or email A selection is published, but we’re unable to enter into individual correspond­ence.

 ?? ?? Spare parts: Ears and noses at the Glyptotek museum, Copenhagen
Spare parts: Ears and noses at the Glyptotek museum, Copenhagen

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