When Bigger is Better

The Sphinx

The Sphinx, Giza, Egypt

Nothing says power, superiority, importance, command like size. The bigger, the better when it comes to religion, government, or a combination of the two.  Ancient Egypt was one of the first civilizations to demonstration the power represented in size.

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Color Your World Almond

Avenue of the Sphinxes

Avenue of the Sphinxes, Luxor, Egypt

An avenue of sandstone sphinxes stretches over 1.5 miles from the Temple of Luxor to the Temple of Karnak. At one time, over 1300 statues lined the road, which was used annually for the Opet Festival honoring the ancient Egyptian god Amun, his wife Mut, and their son Khonsu. The the sacred pathway was used as early as the 15th century BCE.  The pharaoh Nectenabo I (380-362 BCE) built the existing avenue and lined it with sphinxes bearing his name. Most of the sphinxes have human heads, but some earlier statues near Karnak have rams heads. In 2004, the Egyptian government began a massive excavation and restoration project to restore the road and its sphinxes, many of which had deteriorated, been buried in the sand, or used for other projects by the Romans and others.  Large sections of the avenue linking the two temples have been completed.

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WPC: Weathered

The Face of Time

The Great Sphinx, Giza, Egypt

The Great Sphinx sits on the west bank of the Nile, just to the southeast of the pyramids at Giza. While the Sphinx is considered the oldest monumental sculpture in Egypt, its exact date of construction is unknown. Modern Egyptology dates the Sphinx to the Old Kingdom,  during the reign of the Pharaoh Khafre (c. 2558–2532 BCE). The head of the Great Sphinx is believed to portray Khafre (also Khefren or Chephren), the builder of the second largest pyramid of Giza. The Sphinx is carved into the limestone bedrock of the Giza plateau, which also served as the quarry for the pyramids and other monuments in the area. The body appears uneven because wind and sand erosion have damaged the softer layers the native limestone between the base and the head. Even during ancient times the Sphinx had begun to weather as it was buried to shoulder height in the desert sands. The first documented attempt at clearing the site was about 1400 BCE, during the reign of Thutmose IV (1401–1391 BCE), when workers managed to dig out the front paws. Sporadic efforts at excavating continued over the millennia until the entire Sphinx was finally cleared between 1925 and 1936. Attempts (not all successful or appropriate) have been made to repair and stabilize the stone base and rock cut body. Some sections have been restored with blocks of stone.  For an interesting discussion of the varying theories of the origins and dating of the Sphinx, check out The Great Sphinx of Giza.

WPC: Weathered

On The Road Again, Egyptian Style

It was pyramid day in Cairo, Giza, and Dashour.

Silent Sunday: Sphinx

Can you answer the riddle?

Sphinx, Legion of Honour Museum, Hotel de Salm, Paris, France

Sphinx, Legion of Honour Museum, Hotel de Salm, Paris, France

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