Sphinx of Hatshepsut, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Hatshepsut, ca. 1475 b.c.
Egyptian -Red granite
From the collection of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, State Museum of Berlin
Hatshepsut is one of my favourite figures from history. She may or may not have poisoned her own son in order to secure her throne. She demanded that she be referred to as Pharaoh and not Queen as she was the sole ruler of the land. She even wore the fake beard of a Pharaoh. Her reign was one of the most prosperous the region had known and ushered in new developments in art and architecture.
After her death, the clergy went about trying to erase any mention of her, defacing her monuments and removing her name from her tomb in the Valley of the Kings. As disrespectful as this act was, it is made all the more offensive by the fact that the ancient Egyptians believed that if you erased a person’s identity in the real world, you in fact erased them from the Underworld as well. Fortunately, we still know her name today.