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Giza: The Sphinx (1848 photo)

Fig.1: The Sphinx at Giza  (photo: du Camp 1849).

This calotype, taken in 1848 by Maxime du Camp, is one of the first known photographs of the Sphinx, taken only four years after the Giza plateau was mapped by Lepsius and his German expedition, and fifty years after the Sphinx was sketched by Vivant Denon in the 1798-9 French expedition. Du Camp's tour of Egypt with French novelist  Gustave Flaubert in 1848-9 resulted in the first published collection of photographs from Egypt,.

The Sphinx, carved from a limestone outcrop in the Fourth Dynasty ca. 2550 BC, portrays a man's head on a lion's body, representing the sun god Ra. In this image, more of the lower parts of the carving are shown than in Denon's earlier drawing, showing early stages of excavation of the sand drifts which had buried most of the monument.

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