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Granite sphinx
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The sphinx is a mythical creature with the body of lion and, usually, a human head, although sometimes the head might be that of a falcon, hawk or ram. Images of sphinxes were created in Egypt as guardian figures for temples or tombs. Although most people associate the sphinx with Egypt, this sphinx comes from what is today Sudan.

In about 720 BC, the Kushite ruler Piye conquered Egypt. Piye was the first of five Kushite (or Napatan) rulers who controlled Egypt and Nubia, now known as the Twenty-fifth Dynasty (747-656 BC).

Although they used the Egyptian language and wore Egyptian royal dress, the Kushite pharaohs retained links with their Nubian ancestry. The head of this sphinx is that of Taharqo, fourth pharaoh of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, who reigned 690-664 BC. Although the general form of the sphinx is typical of Egyptian sculpture, it is adorned with a Nubian headdress and the face is carved in a Nubian style.

Granite sphinx

From Temple at Kawa, Sudan, Kushite, XXV Dynasty, c. 680 BC.
Ht. 40,6 cm.

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