Sphinx of Memphis

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The Sphinx of Memphis

The Sphinx of Memphis is a stone sphinx located near the remains of Memphis, Egypt. The carving was believed to take place between 1700 and 1400 BC, which was during the 18th Dynasty.[1] It is unknown which pharaoh is being honored and there are no inscriptions to supply information. The facial features imply that the Sphinx is honoring Hatshepsut or Amenhotep II or Amenhotep III.[1]


The Alabaster Sphinx was discovered in 1912 when an affiliate from the British School in America spotted a uniquely carved object jutting out of a sand hill. It was so far in the season that excavation was useless, but a year later in 1913 digging further displayed that the object was the Sphinx's tail.[2]


The Sphinx of Memphis is also referred to as the Alabaster Sphinx of Memphis, or the Calcite Sphinx. These names are derived from the white yellowish stone called calcite which is very similar to alabaster.[3] Calcite is a simple and standard material on earth and has been mined for centuries.[3] This natural resource was considered to be beautiful and was accepted in ancient Egypt to have a mystical solar connection.[3] The Alabaster Sphinx of Memphis is the largest calcite statue ever discovered.[4]

Physical attributes[edit]

With a length of 8 m (26 ft) and a height of 4 m (13 ft), the Sphinx of Memphis is considerably smaller than the more recognized Great Sphinx of Giza. At those dimensions, it is estimated to weigh around 90 tons.[1] It is supported by a foundation that makes it appear to rise out of the sand.[5] Particularly unusual about the Sphinx of Memphis are the striations on its left side, which are uncommon on Egyptian monuments.[6]

Other information[edit]

As years passed from the sphinx's creation, people ravaged Memphite temples and the Sphinx of Memphis is one of the few masterpieces that survived this pillaging.[7] During its time this statue was also displayed near a temple in honor of Ptah. Ptah was the creator of the world to the Egyptians.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Alabaster Sphinx." InterCity Oz, Inc - Interoz.com - Web Publishers, Marketers and Designer - Where the Web Leads. 1996. Web. 18 February 2011. <http://interoz.com/egypt/alabasph.htm>.
  2. ^ "The American Antiquarian and ..." Google Books. Ed. Stephen Denison Peet, J. O. Kinnaman. Web. 4 March 2011. <https://books.google.com/books?id=X8kaAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA235&dq=what was the alabaster sphinx of memphis discovered?&hl=en&ei=bWBwTbioLciCtgeikbT9Dg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=what was the alabaster sphinx of memphis discovered?&f=false>.
  3. ^ a b c "Calcite." Glimmerdream: Playfully Opulent Hand-crafted Jewelry. Glimmerdream, 2003. Web. 4 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Alabaster Sphinx in Copenhagen - Stay.com." Plan Your Trip with Stay.com. Web. 4 March 2011. <http://www.stay.com/copenhagen/attractions/6025/alabaster-sphinx/>.
  5. ^ "Egyptian Journey 2003: Photos: Memphis: Alabaster Sphinx." Phouka Pages: Travelogues, Pharaohs, Old Houses, and Irish Gaelic. 2003. Web. 18 February 2011. <http://www.phouka.com/tr/egypt/photos/memphis/sphinx-01.html>.
  6. ^ Lutz, Dick, and Mary Lutz. "Exploring Egypt: A Traveler's View ..." Google Books. Web. 4 March 2011. <https://books.google.com/books?id=C8Sv0iX9XB0C&pg=PA97&dq=what was the alabaster sphinx of memphis discovered?&hl=en&ei=bWBwTbioLciCtgeikbT9Dg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CEMQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false>.
  7. ^ Silverman, David P. "Ancient Egypt." Google Books. Web. 4 March 2011. <https://books.google.com/books?id=x7p_QMIjESwC&pg=PA75&lpg=PA75&dq=calcite sphinx&source=bl&ots=qDRQsgIyVq&sig=gKiVDzlkpRexcFCCohp0sAG-HBA&hl=en&ei=Qg5vTb2DBsyWtwfa5LyKDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CEYQ6AEwBjgK#v=onepage&q=calcite sphinx&f=false>.
  8. ^ "Memphis the Most Ancient Egypt's Capital." Love Egypt Ancient and Modern, Mystery, Wonders and Civilization. Web. 4 March 2011. <http://www.love-egypt.com/memphis.html>.