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The Great Sphinx of Tanis welcomes you at the entrance to the Egyptian Antiquities department created at Louvre Museum, in 1826 by Charles X. This imposing statue of pink granite, weighing twelve tons, measuring four meters eighty in length, one meter fifty in width and one meter eighty high was found among the ruins of the temple of Amun -Rê in Tanis, may be the capital of Lower Egypt, east of the Nile Delta, following the deciphering of hieroglyphs by Champollion in 1822.
The sphinx, living image of the Pharaoh
The "sphinx" is a Greek term meaning Egyptian statues, representing an animal with a human head, but not corresponding to reality. This statue made of symbols represents a double force: the power and the physical superiority of the lion surmounted by the head of the sovereign the Pharaoh, with his headdress, his false beard and the upright cobra. All Egyptian art resides in this alloy of magic and life.
The lion is lying, ready to pounce, with front paws extended, claws out, hind paws folded back, and tail curling over the left thigh. In this position, he is always placed at the entrance of palaces and temples, as guardian and protector of the place, as a defender with a mission to crush enemies who would like to enter them.
The Sphinx of Tanis, Louvre Museum.
The names of Amenemhat II of the Twelfth Dynasty between 1929 and 1895 BC. J.C., Merenptah of the Nineteenth Dynasty between 1212 and 1202 BC. and Chéchonq 1st of the twenty second dynasty between 945 and 924 BC. are inscribed on the pedestal of the sphinx. Each pharaoh appropriated this statue over time, and this is how the term "usurpation" is often used in inscriptions.
But according to archaeologists, the sphinx dates from the Old Kingdom, around 2600 BC. J.C…. !