The Great Sphinx

Located in Giza, Egypt, the Great Sphinx is one of the earliest and largest sculptures in the world.

The statue which showcases a lion’s body and an Egyptian King’s head is about 66 feet high and 241 feet long.

It is considered as the biggest surviving statue in the world with an eye measurement of six feet tall, an ear size of three feet tall, and a nose size of closely five feet long.

Who build the great Sphinx

Some scholars believe that was carved out of limestone on the Giza plateau during the tenure of Khafre as the Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.

It is, however, worth remembering that other historians believe that the Great Sphinx was constructed by Khafre’s older sibling Redjedef to honor their father Khufu.

While there is no conclusive evidence as to who build the Great Sphinx, scientific estimates show that it took 100 Ancient Egyptians about three years to complete statue with the use of copper chisels and stone hammers.

Damage over Time

Over the years, the Great Sphinx has significantly degenerated due to erosion and natural phenomena.

Other scholars concluded that Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops also played a part in the downturn of the Great Sphinx with some historians claiming that it shot the Sphinx’s nose.

Numerous efforts have been initiated to preserve the body which started to slump during the reign of Thutmose IV.

Help to preserve the Sphinx

In 2007, Egyptian authorities found out that the local water table situated under the sculpture was rising as a result of sewage dumping in the adjacent canal.

It said that the moisture from the canal rapidly spread through the penetrable limestone of the architecture, thus, resulting in the rock to fall down and disaffiliate in large flakes.

To prevent uncontrolled moisture, authorities have ingrained pumps close to the Great Sphinx to deflect the groundwater and ultimately save artifact from further deterioration.

Facts about the Sphinx

  • In Ancient Egypt, the Sphinx was a spiritual protector which was more often described as a male creature with an Egyptian King’s headdress.
  • It is also a famous mythological figure in Greek, Egyptian, and Asian mythologies.
  • In Greek mythology, a Sphinx is a creature which had wings and a tail of a serpent.
  • Other than Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops, Muhammad Sa’im al-Dahr which is a Sufi Muslim was also accused of destroying the Great Sphinx’s nose during the 15thcentury in objection of worshipping.
  • A component of the Great Sphinx royal cobra emblem from its sacred beard is available to the public at the famed British Museum.
  • The royal human head on the lion’s body was a symbol of power, might, and intelligence of the Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.
  • Interestingly, the Great Sphinx was actually entombed in the sand until the early stages of the 1800s. During the 1930s, Egyptian archaeologist Selim Hassan released the creature from its tomb.
  • Other factors that contributed to the deterioration of the Great Sphinx include Giza’s humidity, wind, and man-made pollution.
  • The beard of the Great Sphinx was believed to be added during the New Kingdom period.
  • Several archaeologists argue that the Great Sphinx’s face and the body were painted red while its beard and headdress were colored blue and yellow respectively.

What did you learn?

How tall is the Great Sphinx?
The Great Sphinx is 241 feet in length, 20 feet in width, and 66 feet in height.

Who began the restoration of the Great Sphinx?
Restoration of the Great Sphinx began during the time of Prince Thutmose.

Legend has it that Thutmose fell asleep near the head and the Sphinx and had a dream where he was told that if restored, he would become the ruler of Egypt.

Thutmose made efforts to restore the Sphinx and subsequently became the Pharaoh of Egypt.

What does the Great Sphinx symbolize?
The Great Sphinx also symbolizes the power of the sun and royalty. Its paintings, sculptures, and relics are popular within Modern Egypt.

What is the purpose of the Great Sphinx?
The Great Sphinx meets the sunrise and secures the burial chambers of Giza.

It sits in part of the Necropolis of ancient Memphis which is nearby the three massive pyramids namely the Khafre, Menkaure, and the Great Pyramid of Khufu.