lundi 10 juin 2013

Selon Finley Acker - XIXe s.- le Sphinx représente "vraisemblablement" les traits du roi Amenemhet III (12e dynastie)

Cherchez la ressemblance (à gauche : Amememhet III)
Dans son ouvrage Pen sketches ; streets of Cairo, sphinx and pyramids, Bedouin … (Philadelphia,1899), abondamment illustré par C.P. Shoffner, Finley Acker décrit avec poésie, voire un certain pathos, ses impressions et sentiments lorsqu'il aborde les pyramides de Guizeh. Son regard est celui d'un artiste, séduit par la beauté et la simplicité des lignes géométriques de l'édifice, plutôt que celui d'un technicien et, a fortiori, d'un égyptologue soucieux d'analyses plus pointilleuses.
Sa description du Sphinx obéit à la même inspiration, visant à souligner “l’état avancé de la civilisation égyptienne”. Ce faisant, il se risque à une interprétation personnelle concernant le lien du Sphinx avec le pharaon que la sculpture est censée représenter : pour lui, ce pharaon est Amenemhet III (XIIe dynastie), fils Sésostris III. Un rapprochement des traits pourrait en effet justifier un tel rapprochement. Mais il est à craindre que ce ne soit pas suffisant comme argument, d’un point de vue purement égyptologique.

The silent Sphinx
“But a wonderfully interesting companion to the Pyramids is the Sphinx. Unlike them, its acquaintance should not be made from a distance, but nearby, as its greatest height is but sixty-six feet from the base. Its face is that of a man (not a woman's, as is sometimes supposed), and probably represents the features of King Amenemhet III (Twelfth Dynasty), by whom it may have been constructed. Its body is in the form of a recumbent lion, with its front paws stretched outward on the ground, and it is hewn out of the natural bedrock.
This fascinating face of stone may be viewed in the bright sunlight, or at sunrise, at sunset, by moonlight, or even in the night by the aid of an artificial magnesium light, but the face never wearies, never disappoints. In its calm and sublime dignity, it seems to represent
Inexorable, Passionless, Eternal Fate ; supremely indifferent to the rise and fall of successive dynasties ; treating lightly the civilization of the different epochs ; unawed by the revelations of science and of magic ; unmoved by the invasion of foreign armies and the uprooting of ancient customs and idols ; equally indifferent to the indignity of having its nose used as a target by gunners, and its body partly buried beneath the shifting sands of the desert. Passionless the face may appear, but this feature is perhaps due to the sculptor
skill, and not to its absence. Nowhere have I seen a face in stone which has so haunted me since a face which seemed to hold the power of revealing the most ancient secrets of the past, but which, with its faraway look, was serenely gazing into the most distant future
for the ultimate consummation of things, and totally indifferent to the transient events of a day, a century or a millennium.

The Sphinx’s reply
With its weird power of responding to the varying fancies and emotions of the observer, who can tell what it said to Napoleon at the battle of the Pyramids ; to Saladin, when he gained supremacy in Egypt ; to Constantine, when considering the introduction of Christianity ; to Mark Antony, while yielding to the enchantment of Cleopatra ; to Alexander the Great, when planning for a brilliant and progressive Egyptian empire ; to Moses, while receiving his education in the court of Pharaoh ; to Joseph, when celebrating his wedding with the daughter of Potipherah ; and to the myriads of other human beings, both great and small, who, during five thousand years, have gazed upon that marvelous face ?
To each one it no doubt told a different tale just as it does today. The Pyramids, the Sphinx, the Nile three rare links in the chain which connects the most ancient civilization with that of today. And when we begin to realize the advanced state of civilization in Egypt thousands of years before the discovery of America, and long before the establishment of the Roman Empire, we may well feel that a closer acquaintance with these legacies of the past may serve as an agreeable diversion amid the rush and hurly-burly of the Western civilization of

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