This sphinx statue of Queen Hatshepsut graces the back cover of the current Nile Magazine.
Hatshepsut's statue comes from her graceful royal worship temple, nestled into a wide bay of cliffs at Deir el-Bahri, on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor.
The sphinx is very much a mix of brawn and beauty. In the lion's body we can see what were considered traditionally kingly traits—power and fearlessness. At the same time, the face is clearly a portrait of Hatshepsut, with the elegant features of all her statues: almond-shaped eyes under arched brows, a fine aquiline nose, and a small, smiling mouth.
This statue, restored after being smashed to pieces during the "Hatshepsut backlash" following her reign, is today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
After Hatshepsut's death, her stepson, King Thutmose III, ordered that this royal sphinx be destroyed. There was to be no trace left of what was seen as her illegitimate kingship.
Hatshepsut is famous for crowning herself 'king' and forcing Thutmose III to wait some 20 years before claiming his birthright, and ruling over Egypt as a proud independent king.
However, Hatshepsut has a reputation she probably doesn't deserve. And so does her stepson. It is likely that Hatshepsut had no choice but to become co-ruler, and Thutmose III no choice but to destroy her memory. Explore Sharon Hague's fresh take on Egypt's most successful female pharaoh in this month's issue of Nile.