Sphinx

Ceremonial Shield of Tutankhamun

Ceremonial Shields of Tutankhamun

Among the military equipment found in the tomb of Tutankhamun were eight shields, four of which are ceremonial and are of openwork wood, incised and gilded. On this shield, a winged sun disk curves around the top, protecting the king who is shown with a scimitar in one hand and holding two lions by their...

Thutmose III as a Sphinx

Thutmose III as a Sphinx

This finely executed representation of Thutmose III as a sphinx is made of extremely hard stone. The transition between the head of the king and the powerful feline body has been masked by the nemes headdress and the stylized lion’s mane which forms a bib-like panel on the chest. A short column of inscription running...

Sphinx of Senusret III

Sphinx of Senusret III

In this magnificent example, the face belongs to Senusret III of 12th Dynasty whose features are very distinctive. With the body of a lion and the head of a human, the sphinx symbolically combined the power of the lion with the image of the reigning king. He wears a pleated linen headcloth, called a nemes...

Chlorite head of a female sphinx with missing inlaid eyes, wig clip visible

Head of female sphinx

Chlorite head of a female sphinx with missing inlaid eyes, wig clip visible. Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, c.1876-1842 B.C. Heliopolis, Egypt. Possibly found within Hadrian’s Villa, Rome, Italy. Brooklyn Museum. 56.85 Small details sometimes provide crucial clues to understanding a sculpture. On this object, for example, the back of the wig extends horizontally instead of...

The Sphinx of Memphis, 1920s

The Sphinx of Memphis, 1920s

This sphinx was unearthed in 1912 by Flinders Petrie near the remains of Memphis. It is one of the largest monuments ever made from Egyptian alabaster. Sphinxes are often guards or protectors of ancient Egyptian sacred places. Some represent kings (pharaohs), with their human faces attached to the body of a lion – an animal...

Sphinx of Queen Hatshepsut

Granite Sphinx of Hatshepsut

The granite sphinx of Hatshepsut is carved in a fairly classical pose, in a similar manner to the Middle Kingdom sphinxes of Amenemhat III. The front legs extend forward and the tail curls around the right hind leg. The sphinx is a portrait of Hatshepsut with the elegant feminine features of all her statues: almond-shaped...

Sphinx of King Thutmose III

Sphinx of Thutmose III

Granodiorite statue of King Thutmose III depicted as a sphinx. The sphinx depicts the king reclining on the Nine bows, which represent the traditional enemies of Egypt brought to submission. The sculpture once stood in the Karnak Temple Complex near Thebes. However, it was discovered in 1903 buried with thousands of statues, steles, amulets, inlay...

Great Sphinx of Giza, 1931

The Great Sphinx of Giza, 1931

The head of the Sphinx of Giza is encased in scaffolding and works are under way excavating the body. Early 20th-century excavation at the Giza Necropolis. An earlier Sphinx excavation was marked by the Dream Stele (around 1401 BC) of Thutmose IV, at lower center. The granite altar (bottom) between the Sphinx’s paws dates from...

Sphinx of Queen Hatshepsut

Sphinx of Hatshepsut

As a sphinx, Hatshepsut displays a lion’s mane and a king’s beard. Hatshepsut ruled as a man, not as a woman, and for this reason her royal protocols and titles are always written without the feminine qualification, which is the “T” letter in hieroglyphs. This is the case in the text inscribed on the base...

Sphinx of Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut as a Sphinx

The reconstructed sections of the sphinx of Hatshepsut have been cast from an almost identical, but more complete companion piece now in Cairo. The two small limestone sphinxes may have been on either side of the entrance to the upper terrace of Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahari. The head of this sphinx differs markedly...