Ancient Egypt and Us

The riddle of the Great Sphinx of Ancient Egypt
One of the continuing unresolved debates in Egyptology relates to the riddle of the Sphinx; who does the face of the ancient Great Sphinx represent and who constructed it? Because it lies roughly in line with the pyramid causeway of Pharaoh Khafre, it used to be believed that the face represented Pharaoh Khafre. Countering this, is the theory that Khafre had to slant the causeway to his valley temple well south of the traditional perpendicular east-west line (right) to avoid the pre-existing sphinx. Certainly the lion body of the Sphinx predated Khafre. It was created from the stone rump left behind from the south quarry used to build the pyramid of Pharaoh Khufu; so could the face be that of Khufu?

In 2004 Dobrev, based on the examination of historical records, claimed that the evidence indeed suggested the face was sculpted by Djedefre in the image of his father Khufu. Stadelmann supported this Khufu theory based on the style of the headdress. He argued that the style is more indicative of Khufu than Khafre and underlined his theory by observing that the tiny ivory statuette of Khufu, like the Sphinx, does not have a beard, whereas all the statues of Khafre, and for that matter, Menkaure, show him wearing one. Stadelmann believes the two beard fragments housed in the British Museum (left) and the Egyptian Museum are a later addition; the circular shape and plaited style are both of the New Kingdom. Domingo using his own detailed measurements taken of the Sphinx, determined through forensic drawings and computer analysis, that the face of the Sphinx and the face seen on statues of Khafre could not be the same person.

Peck, in 1992 proposed still another theory; the face is a generic one representing monarchs rather than one specific Pharaoh. The Egyptian historian al-Maqrizi, writing in the fifteenth century AD, attributed the nose damage to the religious zeal of Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr. He recorded that al-Dahr c1378AD discovered the practice of local Egyptian farmers making offerings to the Sphinx in the hope of increasing their harvest. Outraged he destroyed the nose; he was later hanged for his vandalism.