Head from a Female Sphinx
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
Small details sometimes provide crucial clues to understanding a sculpture. On this object, for example, the back of the wig extends horizontally instead of downward, indicating that the head originally belonged to a sphinx, a mythological creature with a human head and a lion’s body. Sphinxes represented the king’s ability to crush Egypt’s enemies. Although sphinxes were usually male, the heavy striated wig shown here only appears on representations of women.
This statue’s inlaid eyes, probably of metal and colored stones, were pried out in antiquity, resulting in extensive damage. Repairs to the eyes, lips, and chin were apparently made in the eighteenth century.
ca. 1876-1842 B.C.E.
15 5/16 x 13 1/8 x 13 15/16 in., 124.5 lb. (38.9 x 33.3 x 35.4 cm, 56.47kg) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
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Head from a Female Sphinx, ca. 1876-1842 B.C.E. Chlorite, 15 5/16 x 13 1/8 x 13 15/16 in., 124.5 lb. (38.9 x 33.3 x 35.4 cm, 56.47kg). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 56.85. Creative Commons-BY
3/4 front right, CUR.56.85_threequarter.jpg
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