Art of the Ancient World, C. 5000 B.c.e.–400 C.E.

Ancient Egyptian Art

What is the Sphinx?

The Great Sphinx at Giza (c. 2520–2494 B.C.E.) is a monumental human-headed lion sculpture carved from a natural limestone hill. This 240-foot colossus is thought to represent the Old Kingdom pharaoh Khafre. Like the Assyrian lamassu, Egyptians protected gateways with depictions of lions. It was thought that lions never slept and they were associated with the sun. In Egypt, as in much of the ancient world, human-animal hybrids were considered divine and this promoted Khafre’s status as a divine ruler.


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