From ancient period to the present age, the Sphinx has been an emblem of Egypt. It has inspired imaginations of poets, adventurers, travelers, and scholars for centuries and has also inspired unending speculation regarding its meaning, its age and the mysteries which it might possess.
The Great Sphinx of Giza is a huge stone sculpture depicting an amalgamation of the head of a human and the body of a lion. Considered as biggest monumental statue in the old world, it is engraved out of single crest of limestone measuring two hundred forty feet long and sixty six feet high.
The Sphinx rests in a the southern part of the pyramid of the Chephren also known as the Pharaoh Khafre, near the Cairo city on the western bank of the Nile River. The rock layer from which the Sphinx has been created varies in color from yellowish to grey. The gigantic body is curved out of a stone of softer type, which erodes easily, while the head is made of a harder variant of stone.
To make the lower portion of the Sphinx, massive blocks of stone were sculpted from the foundation rock. The residual blocks were used then in the center masonry of temples to the south of the Sphinx and directly in front. In spite of the hard nature of the stone, the face has been damaged badly by natural wearing down. The nose is altogether missing and areas around the eyes have been severely damaged by wind abrasion.
Also the eyes itself are altered seriously from their original condition. Facts about sphinx are that it is part of a complicated structure which houses the Sphinx temple. This temple is similar to the Oseiron temple at Abydos and the Great Pyramid in Southern Egypt that date from Pre-dynastic times also.
Head of The Sphinx and Revival Efforts
The head of the Great Sphinx is small when compared to its body. This has leding many to wonder that the head was actually not of a man and that it might have been the skull of a lion to match with the remaining part of the body. This theory entails that the statue is much older than has been known to date.
The Sphinx gets eroded due wind, smog and sun. However, restoration attempts are underway constantly to protect the great national asset.
Sphinx Construction And Erosion Issues
The Sphinx, a statue that resembles the body of a lion having human head, is poised majestically on the Giza Plateau. The remains of the Sphinx are prepared of soft limestone that was carved out in blocks to present it its primary shape. These blocks, in turn were then utilized as unprocessed material for erection of the “Sphinx Temple” which is situated in front of the Sphinx.
Photo Credit: Jamesmerriman.co.uk
Mainstream Egyptologist reacted with complete disbelief when it was suggested that the well known Sphinx was older than the fourth Dynasty. Sphinx facts tell that the Great Sphinx on the Giza Plateau was not erected, but were somewhat carved from bedrock of stationary limestone. Traditional techniques of dating the Sphinx have comprised analysis of its features and the data for existing historical documentation.
The Sphinx is one of the greatest monoliths of the world which 73.5 meters long 6 meters wide and 20.22 meter high. Some scholars have assumed that the sphinx has the identical features of Hatshepsut. The statue is one of the main attractions at Mit Rahina apart from the colossus of Ramses.
Unluckily, the little dried out moat which protects and surrounds the statue from getting touched is being utilized as the rubbish bin. This detracts from aesthetic sphinx appeal. The Sphinx is a great subject of photography and probably in the future, this statue as well as other relics exhibited at Mit Rahina might be removed to Grand Egyptian Museum under erection at Giza.
The Mystery Of Sphinx
The common view about the Sphinx is that it was erected by a pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty, named Khafre. He was the same man who founded his pyramid in Gizeh. It is widely believed by historians that although the construction of the structure was completed during his rule, it was under his predecessor Khufu, that erection of the monument began. Various graphic details found in the tomb of Khafre confirm that the Sphinx began in his era. For many years the identity and age about the sphinx features have been hotly debated.
There are now primarily two types of thoughts regarding the age, origin and founder of the Sphinx in Egypt. Many established Egyptologists established are of the opinion that Pharaoh Khafre erected the Sphinx in the year 2500 B.C. and that it was initiated around the fourth dynasty. This idea makes the Sphinx approximately 5000 years old as per Director of Giza Saqqara of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization.
However another line of thought prevails among a section of intelligentsia who believe that the colossal structure was not created by the Egyptians but has been put in place by a technically advanced civilization that dominated earthlings 8000 to 10000 B.C. Even though researches are conducted on a daily basis the latter cannot be proved.
Lately, an American scholar, Graham Hancock, John West, Robert Bauval and many other have shown some proof that disputes the conventional thoughts regarding the entire Giza complex and the Sphinx. They offer evidence which have baffled and shaken conventional believes that surrounded Sphinx.
Photo Credit: Fritzheede.com
Their evidences comprise primarily two types of proof. The first one is the geological indications which states that the erosion of Sphinx was owing to water and not by the sand or wind which was commonly believed earlier. Strangely in present day Egypt water is not present anywhere near Sphinx to cause extensive damage as rainfall is petty.
This startling discovery have unsettled all other calculations, as Egypt was last lashed with heavy rains in 5000 BC and thus the claims that Khafre made Sphinx lose ground as the ruler reigned in 2500 BC.
The second one is the evidence that illustrate that the Sphinx was certainly an equinoctial marker to determine the exact location on the horizon in which sun daybreaks. Was the Sphinx a mere burial tomb and spiritual symbol or it is something must more than that remains a mystery till date.