But who is responsible for the "Alabaster Sphinx" of Memphis?
The July 22, 1912 edition of the San Francisco Call newspaper excitedly reported on the discovery of the Memphis Alabaster Sphinx: "The monster measures some 14 feet in height and 26 feet in length."
At that stage, no-one knew who the sphinx represented. Today, over 100 years later, the "monster" is still missing a name.
The "Alabaster Sphinx" was discovered in 1911, buried amongst the ruins of the Great Temple of Ptah at Memphis. It had been placed there some 3,000 years earlier by a pharaoh keen to prove his (or her) piety to the gods, and his (or her) power to the populace.
But which pharaoh was it?
The Memphis Alabaster Sphinx was toppled in antiquity and lay for a long time on its side, exposed and vulnerable to the elements. Its right side is badly eroded and there is also a lot of damage to its base. If there ever was an inscription identifying the owner, it has now disappeared.
Based on stylistic grounds, the sphinx was likely commissioned by Queen Hatshepsut or her stepson, Thutmose III. Both were keen sphinx-builders. Trouble is, many of their statues seem to have emerged from the same royal workshops and bear remarkable similarities, so the sphinx could represent either one.
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