The Great Sphinx of Giza

Which historic statue once had a beard?

Located on the Nile River in Egypt, the Great Sphinx of Giza is a limestone statue of a mythical creature, that has the body of a lion and the head of a human. The statue once had a stone beard attached, but eventually fell or was taken off. Pieces can now be seen at the British Museum in London.

This thousand-year-old creation is an impressive (and immense) cornerstone of Ancient Egyptian culture even today. Due to its proximation to Pharaoh Khafre's mortuary temple, archaeologists believe that this massive depiction of a recumbent lion with the head of a king was carved for Khafre. Additionally, some scholars believe there may have been a celestial purpose to the Great Sphinx. It is possible that the great sculpture was meant to resurrect the soul of the pharaoh (Khafre) by channeling the power of the sun and other gods.

Did you know?

It is still unclear what the Ancient Egyptians called the Great Sphinx in their lifetime. The term "sphinx" originates from Greek mythology, some 2,000 years after the statue was created.

Want to learn more? Check out this Britannica article for a closer look at this ancient masterpiece.


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