Museo di Scultura Antica Giovanni Barracco

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Sphinx of a queen
New Kingdom, Dynasty XVIII, Thutmosis III (1479-1426 B.C.)
Gray granite

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.

Provenance: From Upper Egypt, Thebes region. Found in Rome in the Campo Marzio area (Temple of Isis)
Inventory: Inv. MB 13

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