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The Great Sphinx is a limestone statue of a reclining sphinx, a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human, located in Giza, Egypt. It is believed to have been built around 2500 BC during the reign of the pharaoh Khafre and is the largest monolith statue in the world, measuring 73 meters long and 20 meters high.

The Great Sphinx is a symbol of ancient Egypt and is an important part of the Giza Necropolis, which also includes the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Pyramid of Khafre. The statue is facing directly from West to East, and it is carved out of a single piece of limestone bedrock. The Great Sphinx is considered one of the most important and enigmatic statues of ancient Egypt and is an iconic symbol of Egyptian civilization.

The statue was created by carving the limestone rock to create the body of a lion and then carving the head of a human to be placed on top of the lion's body. The statue was then decorated with a headdress and a false beard, which were likely made of copper or bronze.

Archaeologists have found evidence that the statue was once painted, and that the head may have been re-carved at a later date to change the facial features. It is also known that the statue was once covered in a layer of stucco and paint, which has since been worn away by the elements.

The purpose of the Great Sphinx is not entirely clear, but it is believed to have been built as a guardian of the necropolis and as a representation of the pharaoh Khafre. The statue is facing directly from West to East, it is likely that the statue was intended to symbolize the pharaoh's power and authority. Some researchers suggest that the Sphinx was also associated with the god Horus and its statue was a representation of the god in human form.

The Sphinx also played a role in religious rituals, as there are several small temples and shrines found near the statue, which suggests that it was the focus of religious worship. Additionally, the Sphinx was used as a quarry in the ancient times, and many of the limestone blocks that make up the temples and other structures in the area were taken from the statue.


Details

Thutmose IV
François Auguste Ferdinand Mariette, French, 1821–1881; Giovanni Battista Caviglia, Italian, 1770–1845; Selim Hassan (Bey), Egyptian, 1886–1961; Émile Baraize, French, 1874–1952.
Great Sphinx
Khafre

Excavated in 1936-1937 by Hassan.
Khafre
Digital Giza 6 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02138