Athena Review Image Archive  

Giza: The Sphinx (1870s photo)

The Sphinx at Giza (photo: Emile Bechard, 1870-1875). .

This silver albumen print by Emile Bechard, taken in the early 1870s, provides a remarkably crisp image of the eroded sun god figure, 20 meters high, carved from a limestone outcrop whose layering is clearly visible. The sphinx wears the headdress of a pharaoh, probably representing Cephren (2558-2522 BC), the third king of the Fourth Dynasty, whose tomb lay in the central position of the three largest pyramids at Giza.

The Sphinx had its own temple, which sat next to the Valley Temple of Cephren. These lay at the starting point of the road used for ceremonial processions to the pyramid. These temples were uncovered in the 1860s-70s by the French archaeologist Mariette, as part of his wide-ranging excavation program in Egypt.


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