Great Sphinx, Gizeh, Egypt, ca. 2520-2494 BCE

Perhaps one of the most well-known Egyptian artwork and one of the symbols of Egypt is the Sphinx.

The Sphinx is located in that same area as the Great Pyramids of Gizeh. It’s part of that group of structures. It stands by the causeway and dominates the valley temple of Pharaoh Khafre. It is carved from rock and it is colossal in size. In fact, the Sphinx statue is the largest one in the ancient Near East!

Art historians and historians who study Egyptian culture believe that the Sphinx represents a pharaoh, most likely Khafre (however, some have suggested that the Sphinx may actually be a representation of Khufu and that its carving began before the construction of Khafre’s pyramid complex). In its original and complete condition, the Sphinx wore a ceremonial beard and headdress. But overtime, these pieces of worn off and have began to fade (evidence of the headdress is still visible, though).

The Sphinx is a combination of a human head on a lion’s body. Because felines play such an important role in Egyptian culture as divine and authoritative creatures, it is fitting for an animal like the Sphinx to represent a pharaoh, whomever that specific pharaoh may be. The Sphinx is also believed to be correlated with the sun god in Egyptian culture, making it even more appropriate for the king. By combining feline and human features, the Sphinx stresses the point that “the pharaoh combines human intelligence and the immense strength and authority of the king of beasts”.

I also really like this work of art. It is huge! I wonder how they could have carved such a large statue out of stone and whether the process of carving it was really like that scene in Aladdin (where the carver gets distracted by Jasmine and Aladdin on their flying carpet as they sing “A Whole New World” and he accidentally chips off a big portion of the Sphinx’s nose!). Someday, I would love to visit the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx in person. I am so fascinated by the works of the Egyptians, just by reading about them and seeing pictures.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s