sphinx of Hatshepsut

Sphinx of Hatshepsut

Pink granite. New Kingdom.
Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

The Egyptian sphinx was a royal icon - a lion with the head of Pharaoh. Kings hunted the lion, and identified themselves with the powerful and fierce "king of the beasts." The most famous example is, of course, the great Sphinx of Khafre at Giza. Hatshepsut as Pharaoh would naturally cause herself to be represented in this traditional iconography.