Mystery Of The Great Sphinx Of Giza: Understanding The Sphinx From A Material Culture Point Of View

2694 words - 11 pages

Never before in history did any monument receive such wide attention from the public and media like the Great Sphinx of Giza. The 73.5m long and 20m high (Dieter Arnold) stone carved statue not only fascinates people from all around the world, but also created countless movie ideas, novels, video games and raises questions to those who are interested. Undoubtedly, Sphinx has become one of the most notable figures of ancient Egyptian culture just beside the pyramids in the eyes of westerners. However, many questions remained in mysteries for almost decades until the excavation of 1925 by Emile Baraize revealed the Sphinx’s exotic design to the world's view. Why did the ancient Egyptians build this massive structure? For what purpose would they want to invest such resources and labors to initiate such complex project? How was it built and how did the Egyptians overcome the enormous difficulties with past technologies? The purpose of this paper would be discussing the possible identity of whom the Sphinx might be and compare and analyze the evidence from a material culture point of view. The paper would be lay out to four different sections. First part would briefly describe the purpose of this study as well as giving a brief modern history of the Sphinx. Second part would be discussing the style/meaning and its association and context with the pyramids of the Giza and how the Sphinx was built. The third part would be discussing kings who possibly commissioned the Sphinx to be built and analyze the style of the Pyramid to the style of those kings. Two kings that could be the owner of the Sphinx are Khafra and Khufu, which would be my main focus here and I would be discussing the pros and cons of the scholars’ different ideas. Last part would be discussions about the modification as well as historical attempt to restore the Sphinx. For nearly thousands of years, the majority of the Sphinx’s body were buried beneath the Giza desert leaving only the head, part of the neck and back to be only part that is above ground surface and visible. It was not until 1789 when Napoleon’s army excavated the Sphinx’s body out of the covering sand partially during his mapping expedition of Giza plateau did the world was reminded of a long forgotten ancient history. During the eighteenth centuries, several more excavations were done on Sphinx by several foreign countries, private contractors and profit seeking corporations. Emile Baraize was perhaps the first person who successfully uncovered the Sphinx entirely from the burying sand ever since king Thutmose IV on 1936. To the world’s view, the Sphinx’s body was heavily deteriorated due to sediment erosion and other geological factors. However, several never before seen subsurface structures were found during the excavation. Such as two subsurface tunnels and a temple which is built to worship the Sphinx. This raised many questions in the mind of scholars and publics, why was the Sphinx built and what does its...

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