A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, October 15, 2012

Not Only Were the Pyramids Different, the Sphinx Has Had a Sex Change

In my earlier somewhat snide notes about 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.

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