the very odd-looking pyramids in a 1575 Italian plan of Cairo, I completely missed the real story, noted in a comment to my post by art historian Rosamond Mack, who knows Italian Orientalist art: the sphinx has obviously — again assuming the 1575 print is an accurate representation — undergone a major sex change, as shown in the image at left.
And while the pyramids are just wildly out of proportion, Ms. Sphinx, while losing his/her/its lion body (which indeed was covered with sand at the time), has acquired not only a hairdo and breasts, but even prominent nipples as well: no ambiguity here: she's all girl. [Yes, I know Greek sphinxes were female. The sphinx at Giza isn't Greek.]
And to think, we've been arguing for years about how it lost its nose.