Seven sphinxes of Amenemhat III were found in Tanis in the eastern Delta. They were thus called the Tanite sphinxes. They evoke the superhuman power of the king and emphasize his fearful appearance.
The vigorous face of the king is characterized by his prominent cheekbones, protuberant mouth and deeply furrowed cheeks, which create an effect of strength. Instead of the traditional Nemes headdress, his face is framed by a massive lion’s mane that increases the sense of his majesty.
The statues rest on a tall and solid base decorated with cartouches of several sovereigns such as the Hyksos king Nehsey, Ramesses II, Merneptah and Psusennes I, who all, over the centuries, usurped the group of sphinxes, fascinated by their idea. Egyptologists had mistakenly called them “the Hyksos sphinxes” because of their strange visage and the different names of the usurpers containing a Hyksos ruler too.
Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, reign of Amenemhat III, ca. 1860-1814 BC. Grey granite, from Tanis. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 15210; CG 394