Sphinx of Hatshepsut

Period: New Kingdom

Dynasty: Dynasty 18

Reign: Joint reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III

Date: ca. 1479–1458 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Senenmut Quarry, MMA excavations, 1926–28

Medium: Granite, paint

Dimensions: H: 164 cm (64 9/16 in.); L: 343 cm (135 1/16 in.); Wt: 6758.6 kg (14900 lb.)

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1931

Accession Number: 31.3.166


This colossal sphinx portrays the female pharaoh Hatshepsut with the body of a lion and a human head wearing a nemes headcloth and royal beard. The use of the sphinx to represent the king dates back to the Old Kingdom and the Great Sphinx of Giza. The sculptor has carefully observed the powerful muscles of the lion as contrasted to the handsome and attractive idealized face of the queen. It was one of six royal sphinxes that lined the processional way leading to the queen's mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri. Recovered by the Museum's Egyptian Expedition, it was found smashed into many fragments and buried in pits near the temple. It weighs more than seven tons.