Sphinx as ArchetypeMore generally, the Egyptian sphinx was a long-lived icon of Egyptian society--in fact one of the characteristics of dynastic Egypt is they knew a good icon when they saw one, and used styles and characteristics for thousands of years. The archetypal sphinx was a hybrid of a lion's body with a human head of a royal figure wearing a headdress and usually with a short false beard. The Giza Sphinx lies with its paws stretched out, although some sphinxes were illustrated on murals inside tombs as either walking on all fours or seated. In the New Kingdom there were even female sphinxes.
SourcesChristine Zivie-Coche, translated from the French by David Lorton. 2001. Sphinx: History of a Monument. Cornell University, Ithaca.
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