Sphinx of Shepenwepet II

Black granite; Height 46.5 cm, Length 82 cm

From Karnak; found in fragments in the Sacred Lake;
Acquired in 1879
Twenty-fifth Dynasty, 670-660 B.C.

As representatives of the Kushite royal house, the "gods wives of Amun" took on more than just cultic duties. Shepenwepet II, daughter of King Piye and sister of King Taharqa, also played a significant political role. In this sphinx statute she presents a vessel with the ram's head of Amun. The human hands and arms on the lion's body are a rare variant of the sphinx statue type attested since the late Old Kingdom. The hairstyle with two curled ends is a revival of a form common in the Middle and early New Kingdoms. The unpolished surfaces of the wig take the shape of a vulture diadem and were originally gilded. Added to this mix of revivals from older Egyptian traditions is a face that is distinctly Kushite.
Image and text from the book Sudan: Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile, Dietrich Wildung, 1997, p. 175
Berlin, Agyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung

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