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Female Sphinx with head portrait of queen 

XVIII Dynasty (New Reign), Reign of Thutmose III (1479 – 1425 bC)

Museo di Scultura Antica Giovanni Barracco

Museo di Scultura Antica Giovanni Barracco
Rome, Italy

This beautiful black-granite sculpture – one of the rare known examples of a sphinx with a woman’s head – was found in Rome, in the part of the Campo Marzio where a temple of Isis once stood. This circumstance, together with the cartouche on the creature’s breast, which refers to a ruler of Dynasty XVIII, led experts to consider the statue as that of Queen Hatshepsut, famous for having reigned with the title of pharaoh and for the construction of the great temple of Deir el-Bahari. However, analyses of the sphinx’s facial features, which do not match those of the queen’s many portraits, have made it possible to establish that it depicts a high-ranking woman at the court of Thutmosis III.

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