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The Sphinx of Memphis
is a stone sphinx
A sphinx is a mythical creature with a lion's body and a human head or a cat head.The sphinx, in Greek tradition, has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and the face of a woman. She is mythicised as treacherous and merciless...
located near the remains of Memphis, Egypt
Memphis was the ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Helwan, south of Cairo.According to legend related by Manetho, the city was founded by the pharaoh Menes around 3000 BC. Capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, it remained an...
. The carving was believed to take place between 1700 and 1400 BC, which was during the 18th dynasty. It is unknown which pharaoh is being honored and there are no inscriptions to supply information. The facial features imply that the Sphinx is honoring Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut also Hatchepsut; meaning Foremost of Noble Ladies;1508–1458 BC) was the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt...
or Amenhotep II
Amenhotep II was the seventh Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. Amenhotep inherited a vast kingdom from his father Thutmose III, and held it by means of a few military campaigns in Syria; however, he fought much less than his father, and his reign saw the effective cessation of hostilities...
or Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent was the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty. According to different authors, he ruled Egypt from June 1386 to 1349 BC or June 1388 BC to December 1351 BC/1350 BC after his father Thutmose IV died...
The Alabaster Sphinx was discovered in 1912 when an affiliate from the British School in Egypt spotted a uniquely carved object jutting out of a sand hill. It was so far in the season that escavation was useless, but a year later in 1913 digging further displayed that the object was the Sphinx's tail.
The Sphinx of Memphis is also referred to as the Alabaster
Alabaster is a name applied to varieties of two distinct minerals, when used as a material: gypsum and calcite . The former is the alabaster of the present day; generally, the latter is the alabaster of the ancients...
Sphinx of Memphis
, and the Calcite
Calcite is a carbonate mineral and the most stable polymorph of calcium carbonate . The other polymorphs are the minerals aragonite and vaterite. Aragonite will change to calcite at 380-470°C, and vaterite is even less stable.-Properties:...
. These names are derived from the white yellowish stone called calcite which very similar to alabaster. Calcite is a simple and standard material on earth and has been mined for centuries. This natural resource was considered to be beautiful and was accepted in ancient Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...
to have a mystical solar connection. The Alabaster Sphinx of Memphis is the largest calcite statue ever discovered.
With a length of 8m (26ft) and a height of 4m (13ft), the Sphinx of Memphis considerably smaller than the more recognized Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza , commonly referred to as the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt....
. With those dimensions, it is estimated to weigh around 90 tons. Its supported by a foundation which gives the impression that it is raised out of the sand. What is unusual about the Sphinx of Memphis are the striations on the left side which wasn't common for Egyptian monuments. This monument also has corrosion and damage because at one point in the past it was on its side in water.
As years passed from the sphinx's creation, people ravaged Memphite temples and the Sphinx of Memphis is one of the few masterpieces that survived this pillaging. During its time this statue was also displayed near a Temple in honor of Ptah
In Ancient Egyptian Religion, Ptah was the deification of the primordial mound in the Ennead cosmogony, which was more literally referred to as Ta-tenen , meaning risen land, or as Tanen, meaning submerged land, though Tatenen was a god in his...
. Ptah was the creater of the world to the Egyptians.