Today in class the Sphinx of Giza was only briefly mentioned, so I thought I would do a little more research. As mentioned in class, the Sphinx was carved straight out of the bedrock on the Giza plateau. The Sphinx is said to be associated with Khafre during 2558-2532 BC, and it lines up with the Pyramid of Khafre at the foot of its causeway.
The Sphinx has the body of lion and the head of a king or god. In 1905 the sand was cleared away from the sculpture base to reveal how massive the Sphinx really is. The paws alone are 50 feet long and the entire body equals out to 150 feet long. The head is proportionally a lot smaller at only 30 feet long and 14 feet wide. The Sphinx is believed to have been quite colorfully painted at one time. Unfortunately, the bedrock it is carved into is sandstone so it does not hold up well to the elements and a lot of erosion has occurred.
As stated in class the Sphinx lost its nose because Muhammad Sa’Im Al-Dahr was angered by peasants making offerings to it, so he destroyed the nose then was promptly hanged for vandalism. But on this website I found they claim that Turks shot off its nose during target practice, not Napoleon. More mystery surrounding the Sphinx is who it resembles. Some believe that the face resembles that of Khafre’s older brother, Pharaoh Djedefre. A German Egyptologist has also suggested that the Sphinx was built by King Khufu, Khafre’s father. So many rumors circulate around the Sphinx, but I do not think we will ever truly know what it’s true purpose was.
The Dream Stele is between the paws of the Sphinx. The stele tells the story of when Thutmosis IV fell asleep under the Sphinx, which at the time was covered in sand up to its neck. He had a dream that the Sphinx talked to him and told him that if he freed the Sphinx from the sand then he would become king. Some people do believe that the Sphinx has magical powers or that it has hidden passageways under it. But none of these have been confirmed.
No matter what ideas or crazy stories lurk around the Sphinx, I still believe it is a magnificent work of art and would love to see it in person sometime.