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Face of the Sphinx

Who represents the face of the Sphinx of Giza?

Pharaoh's profile picture
Published in 
 · 1 May 2023

For official Egyptology, the Sphinx was made along with its temples, by Egyptian "tentmakers," to complete the sacred area of the Second Pyramid, attributed to His Majesty Khafra, fourth king of the Fourth Dynasty.

The Sphinx
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The Sphinx

For Marc Lehner there is no doubt: the Sphinx's head represents His Majesty Khafra and to prove it, he had a computer reconstruction of Khafra's face prepared to compare it with that of the Sphinx concluding that the two faces reproduced the same person.

The problem becomes complicated if we try to agree with both, Egyptologists of the 1800s and to contemporary independent researchers.

In about 1860 Auguste Mariette, director of the Office of Egyptian Antiquities, while having excavation work done to clear the Temple in the Valley of the Second Pyramid of sand, found a splendid black diorite statue, which today can be seen in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, on the base of the statue is the cartouche of Khafra, just as on the Sphinx Stele. At the same time, near the Great Pyramid, in a small temple in which Isis is remembered as "the Lady of the Pyramid," the Inventory Stele was found. The stele says, among other things, that the Sphinx and a pyramid were already ancient at the time of Cheops.

Gaston Masperò reports the belief of Auguste Mariette who wrote :

"... the presence of the king's name on the stele of the Sphinx, only recalls a restoration work ... the Sphinx was covered with sand at the time of King Khufu and his predecessors."

For Robert Temple, the Sphinx does not represent a lion, the forms of its body resemble a canid and it may be the God Anubis, "the one who opens the way," "the keeper of secrets."

Those who, like Temple, question the age of the Sphinx point out the disproportion between the body and the headof the large lion statue.

The Sphinx with a lion's head
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The Sphinx with a lion's head

The Egyptians were well acquainted with the proportions of a lion, and a comparison of the Sphinx of Giza with one of the many sphinxes, found near the monuments, brings that disproportion into beautiful evidence.

For Robert Temple, the Giza area would have been dedicated to Isis, as also stated on the Inventory stele, and Anpu (Anubis) would be its worthy guardian.

J, Antony West, convinced that the Sphinx was built much earlier than the era of King Khafra, involved Loris Domingo, chief sketch artist for the N.Y. Police Department, an expert in sketches. For Domingo, the face of the Sphinx is different from the face of the Khafra statue, as is evident in his studies published in West's book. In fact, as is evident from the comparison of the profile of the beautiful statue of His Majesty Khfra (Chephren) with the profile of the Sphinx's head, the King's profile is that of a Europeid type individual, while the obvious prognathism of the Sphinx's head is characteristic of a Negroid type.

Thus, either one accepts the official version, or one credits the idea that, millennia after its construction, the great statue was so eroded that it required restorations to the body and the remaking of the head with the resizing we still see today.

The Sphinx's head was complete with the symbols of kingship such as the uraeus, the upright cobra head and the ritual beard postiche, while there is a hole on the head that was probably used to anchor a crown.

To give Dany a credible answer, it can be said that that the head represents a "symbolic" face, the face of every king son of Ra Atum, who, just as every king was a Horus predestined to rule during his lifetime, just as every deceased king was an Osiris, destined to become a star in the heavenly Duat.

To finish, it is worth mentioning that one of the names of the Sphinx was "HR-M-HT,"( Horus of the horizon), while in no Egyptian writings he is given the name of His Majesty Kafra.

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