Ever wonder why many souvenirs of the Great Sphinx of Giza only represent the head? Perhaps the reason is this: When Napoleon ‘re-discovered’ the Sphinx in 1798, it was buried in sand up to its neck. While his engineers attempted to excavate it, there was just too much sand for them to contend with. The technology to remove and keep the sand away wouldn’t be available until the 1920s. Some souvenirs do now show the head and full body of the sphinx. The sphinx is a mythical creature with a lion’s body and a human head that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt. The face of the Sphinx is generally believed to represent the face of the Pharaoh Khafra. The Great Sphinx is one of the world's largest and oldest statues but basic facts about it, such as when it was built, and by whom, are still debated. Some people believe the head was originally a lion that was later re-carved as a human. What happened to the nose? The nose on the face is missing and an examination of the Sphinx's face shows that long rods orchisels were hammered into the nose, one down from the bridge and one beneath the nostril, then used to pry the nose off. The Arab historian al-Maqrīzī, writing in the 15th century, attributes the loss of the nose to iconoclasm by Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr, a Sufi Muslim from the khangah of Sa'id al-Su'ada. In AD 1378, upon finding the local peasants making offerings to the Sphinx in the hope of increasing their harvest, Sa'im al-Dahr was so outraged that he destroyed the nose, and was hanged for vandalism.
Monday, March 3, 2014
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