The great sphinx is a very famous artifact during the history of the ancient Egyptian arts. We are going to talk about the Sphinx as a masterpiece of the Egyptian art.
The great Sphinx at Giza
It’s considered the largest statue in the time of king khafre and also considered the first colossal statue in ancient Egypt. Egyptians did not carve statues like this size before until the new kingdom.
Sphinx is a Greek term which described this kind of statues which represents the body of a lion and a head of a human.
Some opinions said that the origin of this word is an Egyptian phrase called “šsp ˁnḫ” which means the living image.
Maybe this term refers to this kind of statues which regards as the living image of both the king and the sun-god as it combines the intelligence of the king and the powerful body of the lion, so the sphinx was the sign of the royal power.
It’s located beside the causeway of the pyramid of khafre. It measures about 20m in height and 73m in length.
It was carved from knolls of rock and covered with plaster and painted. Some opinions said that the sphinx was made for king djedefra, the predecessor of king khafra.
The dream stela
The sphinx was covered by sand several times, but the most famous one the time of king Thutmose IV as it registered in a stela called “dream stela”.
It was made in front of the sphinx by king Thutmose IV as he dreamed that god “Horemakhet” promised him if he removed the sand which covered the sphinx he would be the ruler of Egypt.
Egypt art: the temple of the sphinx
It was discovered by slim Hassan in 1936. It’s now in a bad condition. The temple was built from the blocks that were quarried from the same rock of sphinx, which refers that the temple and the sphinx were built at the same time.
The temple is located in front of the sphinx which indicates that the temple was dedicated to the sphinx but we have no old texts proves that.
This temple was never completed; the exterior part was left without casing. Being never completed, possibly that is the reason why no priests served in this temple and no rituals happened in it.
There are some pieces of evidence supported that the sphinx belongs to khafre’s complex.
There is a drainage channel runs from the north side of the khafra’s causeway and terminated into the upper southwest of the sphinx’s ditch which means that the builders made this ditch after the causeway and they made it empty the water of the rain into the ditch.
The fronts and backs of the valley temple of khafre and the temple of sphinx are aligned. The walls of the two temples are built from large limestone blocks and covered with red granite.