Sphinx Projects

Written by filonia lechat
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Sphinx Projects
Let Egypt's mysterious Sphinx serve as project inspiration. (Sphinx image by Pete Blackman from Fotolia.com)

The Great Sphinx, a massive monument perhaps commissioned by the Pharaoh Khafre (ruled 2558-32 B.C.), may have been worshipped as a god. Although parts have been removed or broken off over time, notably the nose and beard, the mysterious creature with a human head and lion's body continues to preside over the complex of pyramids at Giza, Egypt. Made of limestone bedrock, the Sphinx may be the largest manmade stone sculpture.

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Facial Restoration

According to the Amazeing Art website, the Sphinx's face in ancient times was painted dark red, had a stone beard, and featured a sculpted cobra upon its forehead. The loss of those elements over time has contributed to the notion that the Sphinx was female, although the surviving characteristics somewhat resemble those of the Pharaoh Khafre. Persons interested in the Sphinx can complete a project where they conceptualise how the Sphinx would look if the missing elements were still attached today. If you are a crafty type, use clay and mould the Sphinx, adding the snake and beard plus red dye. Or draw an image of how different the monument would be with the addition of these elements, then compare the two side by side.

Spiritual Cats

Use the Sphinx as inspiration to study the cats and cat deities of ancient Egypt. Trace the history of cats such as the Sand Cat, Egyptian Mau and African Wild Cat back to their roots, linking them to their descendants today. Compare the two cats that became deities, Bastet and Sekhmet, to the Sphinx---notice the difference in the ear and eye shapes. You can also use cats as doodling inspiration; create drawings similar to those found in the Egyptian pharaohs' tombs, where cats often were buried with their owners and depicted among the sketchings on the walls.

Missing Nose

Another element of the Sphinx missing from the original is its nose. Historians discovered the nose didn't fall off, as assumed; it was deliberately removed (possibly by someone who thought the monument was a blasphemous idol). Consider a project of forming a nose for the Sphinx and seeing how it transforms the structure. Sphinx busts are available online, in museum stores or through historical societies. Create a variety of substitute noses out of materials such as foam, wood, clay, plastic and felt, then record how they change the image of the Sphinx. Compare the Sphinx to other important structures or artworks missing important features (for example, the armless Venus de Milo).

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