Known fruit of the unknown;
Out of sleeping a waking,
Out of waking a sleep;
Life death overtaking;
Deep underneath deep?
- the Sphinx by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1841)
A creature of immense beauty and curiosity, Sphinx has held the fascination of people around the world. She does not belong to selective areas or mythological stories, but is seen throughout the pages of history, scattered in different corners of the world. She does possess attractiveness, but is gifted with wisdom and represents a perfect woman.
A Sphinx is a creature with body of a lion, wings of a bird and head of a beautiful women.She is found not only in a specific mythological setting but in the myths of various civilization like in greek, Egyptian, and south Asian mythology. In the Greek myths she is considered a woman, however in Egyptian, she posses the head of a man. It is not her looks that is said to set her apart, but her wit. According to the myths, anyone who crosses her path is required to answer a riddle, if they fail to do so, they would face the wrath of the magnificent Sphinx, and be eaten by it. The Sphinx is said to have been sent from ethiopia by Goddess Ares or Hera.
As an object of mystery, the Sphinx has been used in architecture to display mysticism. The earliest known buildings and temples that accommodate the Sphinx in their architecture is in Turkey made in 9500 B.C. More famously, the Sphinx made in Giza in Egypt. It is said to represent the Pharaoh Kafrah. The use of the Sphinx was not just limited to the oriental but also to the European architecture. It was used widely during the renaissance period. It now is seen in freemasonry as well.
“A major difficulty is that the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx is partly a product of the answers that we already have given to the riddle in its various forms. ” – Gregory Bateson