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 Museum Explorer

Birds and beasts in
Ancient Egypt


Height: 40.6 cm
Length: 73 cm


EA 1770


From: Temple T at Kawa, Egypt
Date: 25th Dynasty, about 680 BC

A sphinx is a lion with a human head. Lions are powerful animals, and the ancient Egyptian pharaohs often had their own faces carved onto sphinx statues to show how powerful they were.

This stone sphinx was put up in a temple by a pharaoh called King Taharqo. The face is probably meant to look like him, and he is wearing his king's headdress. If you look at the larger picture you can just see where his name is carved in hieroglyphs inside a cartouche (oval) on the sphinx's chest.