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The Great Sphinx.

Have you ever imagined fantastic animals? Have you ever drawn animals which do not really exist? The myths of many ancient peoples are filled with imaginary animals such as the unicorn or the minotaur. One of these is called the sphinx.

The ancient Egyptians made many sphinxes. The world's largest sphinx is near Cairo at Giza, Egypt. Most of it was carved from solid stone. This Great Sphinx has the body of a lion and the head of a man. The face was meant to look like the Pharaoh. This huge animal-man is 240 feet long and 66 feet tall.

In 2500 BC, the Great Sphinx was a magnificent sight, lying under the bright desert sun. The Egyptians had plastered over the entire sphinx and painted it in bright colors. The head was white and the body was red. Behind the Great Sphinx were three huge white pyramids gleaming in the sun and surrounded by the rich brown sands of the desert. Often there was a brilliant blue sky above this colorful scene.

The Egyptians believed that combining the lion with the Pharaoh would give the man some of the courage and strength of the animal. The word sphinx means "to bind together." Imagination, creativity and a magnificent animal have come together into one of the wonders of the ancient world.

A Painting or Drawing to Try

Think of all of the animals you know that have certain characteristics you would like to have.

What animals do you admire most?

Why do you like this animal?

What characteristics of this animal would you like to have: strength, speed, courage, beauty, etc.? Make a picture of this animal and combine your head and its body, or its head and your body into the form of a sphinx.

Choose a pose which will show the characteristics which you like in the animal: rennin& jumping, standing, lifting, etc.

Tell your friends which animal you chose and why you like that animal.

Words to discuss:

myth imaginary sphinx pyramid

H.T. Niceley is a professor at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee, and a frequent contributor to SchoolArts.
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:A Child's Gallery
Author:Niceley, H.T.
Publication:School Arts
Date:Apr 1, 1991
Words:354
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