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It is a symbolic trophy for the matador. If he puts on a good performance he may be awarded an ear. A very good performance will earn two ears. A superior performance and the matador will be awarded both ears and the tail. An super excellent performance and the bull may receive an indulto (pardon) and this reflects on both the matador, the bull and the bull ranch that produced the bull.

There have been a few occurrences in the past where a matador has been awarded two ears, a tail and a hoof but this is a rarity.

In the earlier years of bullfighting, matadors were not well paid. If they were awarded an ear it meant that they could claim the meat from the dead bull after the fight.

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Q: What does it mean when the bull fight cuts off the ear of the bull?
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