vendredi 14 juin 2013

Selon Edward Bell (XXe s.), “il est probable que la tradition mettant le Sphinx en relation avec Khéphren ait quelque fondement”

De l’ouvrage d’Edward Bell The architecture of ancient Egypt - a historical outline, édité en 1915, j’ai retenu l’extrait suivant consacré au Sphinx :

“The gigantic figure of the Sphinx, which is 140 feet in length and 66 feet high, when not partly covered by sand, lies about 540 yards to the east of the pyramid Khaf-Ra with whom a late tradition associates it. It was carved in situ from a natural mass of rock, the apparent height of which is increased by the surface of the surrounding ground having been removed ; the body is a good deal weathered, and has the appearance of having been patched up with pieces of sandstone. The human head was formerly painted red, and had the conventional beard common in royal portraits, but is now much mutilated ; on the breast between the forepaws, there is a small open shrine with an enclosed space and an altar in front A paved court farther in front with steps leading down to it is said to date from the Roman period.
The figure was an object of veneration for centuries, and there is a record of its repair by Thothmes IV of the XVIIIth dynasty, but the date of its first carving is doubtful. Mr. H. R. Hall assigns it to the Xllth dynasty, but it seems unlikely that the block was left untouched by the pyramid builders of the IVth dynasty, and it is probable that the tradition connecting it with
Khaf-Ra has some foundation.
That the art of monumental sculpture had reached great perfection in his day is shown by the fine diorite statue of him which is one of the treasures of the Cairo Museum. It was found with eight other smaller figures, showing him at different ages in the temple near the Sphinx described above.
The body of the Sphinx is perforated by a shaft from the centre of the back indicating an earlier grave below it, and as there are no tombs in the immediate neighbourhood older than Khaf-Ra's reign, it may be taken for granted that the Sphinx is not of earlier date.”

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