Sphinx of a queen
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.
Masterpieces of the hall
Nearly all the reliefs in the Barracco Museum’s collection belong to the funerary sphere.
They come from a type of tomb, the mastaba (from the Arabic word for bench), which was especially characteristic of Old Kingdom necropolises.