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Topic - The Sphinx

After our work on pyramids last week , this week for our topic work I would like you to learn all about the Sphinx.

 

Can you understand the significance of The Sphinx to Ancient Egyptians?

 

Find out why there is controversy over the original shape of The Sphinx and who ordered it to be carved and finally make a model.

 

Teaching

Look at the website for a number of pictures of The Sphinx at Giza (or see session resources). Explain that it was built/carved about 4,500 years ago and is still the largest stone statue in the world! It is 20m high – try marking 20m out in the playground to demo its height. It has the body of a lion and the head of a pharaoh – it is believed that it may have been built by Khafre – the son of Khufu, who built the Great Pyramid or by Khufu himself. The Sphinx lines up exactly with Khafre’s tomb. Discuss why a pharaoh would want a massive lion figure outside his tomb. Historians believe that it acted as a guardian to the tomb. Later sphinxes were usually in pairs (and smaller) but this is the earliest version of a sphinx that archaeologists have found. The Sphinx was carved from limestone, from the bedrock (rock that was exposed on the surface perhaps by quarrying stone for the construction of the Pyramids at Giza), & would never have survived this long if it were not for the fact that it was buried in sand for much of its life. (Sand dunes are constantly on the move - being blown by winds.) The paws were made separately from large blocks of limestone. The head is out of proportion with the rest of the body (it is too small) & so some Egyptologists have suggested that it was re-carved from an earlier shape to look like the Pharaoh (& therefore is a lot older than thought). The Sphinx originally had a beard, part of which can now be seen in the British Museum (session resources).

 

Look at the website for a number of pictures of The Sphinx at Giza (or see session resources). Explain that it was built/carved about 4,500 years ago and is still the largest stone statue in the world! It is 20m high – try marking 20m out in the playground to demo its height. It has the body of a lion and the head of a pharaoh – it is believed that it may have been built by Khafre – the son of Khufu, who built the Great Pyramid or by Khufu himself. The Sphinx lines up exactly with Khafre’s tomb. Discuss why a pharaoh would want a massive lion figure outside his tomb. Historians believe that it acted as a guardian to the tomb. Later sphinxes were usually in pairs (and smaller) but this is the earliest version of a sphinx that archaeologists have found. The Sphinx was carved from limestone, from the bedrock (rock that was exposed on the surface perhaps by quarrying stone for the construction of the Pyramids at Giza), & would never have survived this long if it were not for the fact that it was buried in sand for much of its life. (Sand dunes are constantly on the move - being blown by winds.) The paws were made separately from large blocks of limestone. The head is out of proportion with the rest of the body (it is too small) & so some Egyptologists have suggested that it was re-carved from an earlier shape to look like the Pharaoh (& therefore is a lot older than thought).

 

The Sphinx originally had a beard, part of which can now be seen in the British Museum (session resources).

 

http://www.guardians.net/egypt/sphinx - Lots of pictures of The Sphinx;

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~loxias/sphinx.htm - Further details about The Sphinx;

http://www.crayola.com/lesson-plans/magnificent-sphinx--pyramid-lesson-plan/ - A useful plan, with information about creating Sphinx and pyramid models.

 

Create a model

Chn create their own sphinxes using clay/salt dough or something else at home. They create the body of a lion and put their own face on, as if they were a pharaoh! Chn should include the cobra (uraeus), elongated paws and the headdress too. Leave the figures to dry/harden. They can be added to the pyramid display, as guardians of the chn’s pyramids. Traces of the original red paint that covered The Sphinx can be seen around one ear. Chn could paint the head & body red & the headdress yellow with blue stripes. Ask chn if they were designing a guardian sphinx would they use the body of a lion or another creature, e.g. perhaps a crocodile or a snake (both of which were also animals known by the Ancient Egyptians). Which would be the best guardian & why?

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