Like the broken arms of the Venus de Milo, the Great Sphinx’s long lost nose has made it all the more iconic. Standing guard at the hallowed entrance to the Great Pyramids of Giza, the human-headed, lion-bodied Sphinx is the oldest of all Egypt’s superhuman stone sculptures. It is also the most instantly recognizable. Originally hewn from a gigantic piece of limestone bedrock, it was covered in plaster and paint in its youth. But the winds, waters and sands of the Giza Plateau have taken their toll. Once upon a time, the Great Sphinx also wore a Pharaoh’s royal beard. Part of it is in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the other part is in the British Museum in London.
Though named by the Greeks after their riddle-loving mythological character, the Sphinx was actually built by the Pharaoh Kefren in his own image.