The Sphynx of Hatshepsut The sphynx of Hatshepsut is dated at 1479BC to roughly 1458BC, during the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom. The piece is the surviving one of six found in the temple of Hatshepsut. The sphynx was found in Thebes during an MMA excavation which took place between 1926 and 1928. When it was first discovered, the sphynx was smashed into several pieces and had to be reassembled by the team. Legend has it that Thutmose, Hatshepsut’s nephew and successor, smashed all the sphynx’s in order to exact revenge on Hatshepsut. She currently resides in the Metropolitan Museum. The sphynx is made of granite, which was later painted, and stands a staggering 164inches by 343inches weighing in at 14,900 lbs. The piece was created to decorate the temple of Hatshepsut, a highly regarded female pharaoh. We believe the sheer size, dark painted tones, and lack of stylization gives the sphynx a menacing look, helping it act as a guardian of Hatshepsut’s temple. The sphynx is a portrayal of Hatshepsut’s head, with fine line detailing to draw the eye to the royal headdress and beard. The piece was done by a experienced sculpter, as we can see in the symmetry of the piece along with it’s smooth edges. Although the colour tones are dark and flat, it adds to the intensity of the piece.
Image Credit: MetMuseum.org