defaced statues in egypt
Traveling through Egypt I saw many statues where the nose had been destroyed or simply cut off. It reminded me of the saying “Cut your nose to spite your face”. Although this saying refers more to a person who is self-destructive, I couldn’t help to think about it.
the defaced great sphinx of giza
If you have a look at the Great Sphinx of Giza then you will notice immediately that the nose has also been damaged. Who did this and why? Many people are of opinion that dust and corrosion over the years have contributed to the demise of the nose. You have to keep in mind that the nose on a large statue is very prominent and relatively small. Yet, there are people who believe that when Napoleon invaded Egypt his troops used the Sphinx for target practice with canons. I am not sure how true it is, but many people firmly believe this.
I am more of the opinion that this was done by enemies that invaded Egypt. Egypt has been invaded many times over the years by enemies and by defacing the statue they believed that the soul will not reach the afterlife.
Not only enemies were to blame but even rulers in Egypt. It was not uncommon for a new leader to deface the statue of a previous ruler. There were signs in a number of tombs that someone deliberately destroyed the nose,eyes and mouth of sculptures and paintings. The damage was provably done by robbers who raided the tombs. By destroying the nose,eyes and mouth they believed that this will prevent the deceased from haunting them because they entered their tomb.
In most cases I believe that the damage was done deliberate. Sure, the missing nose of the Great Sphinx of Giza can be attributed to corrosion as well as malicious damage over the years. It is interesting to note that not all statues were defaced. When you wander through the Egyptian Museum you will see a remarkable collection of statues that has not been damaged.
To conclude: Beauty doesn’t last forever.