Head from a Female Sphinx
This head depicts an ancient Egyptian princess, daughter of King Amenemhat II, and originally had a lion’s body. Over the centuries, it has traveled from collection to collection, acquiring different meanings in each place.
The sphinx first served as a protective deity in a temple. It was brought to Italy, perhaps in ancient times for sacred use in a temple of the Egyptian goddess Isis. In the eighteenth century, it represented typical Egyptian art in the collection of Cardinal Alessandro Albani. William Petty, second Earl of Shelburne, purchased it in 1772 to decorate his London house. A Sotheby’s clerk bought it for himself from a London antique shop in 1945. The Brooklyn Museum acquired it in 1956 as one of Egypt’s greatest masterworks.
- Medium: Chlorite
- Geographical Locations:
- Dates: ca. 1876-1842 B.C.E.
- Dynasty: XII Dynasty
- Period: Middle Kingdom
- Dimensions: 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)
- Collections:Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
- Museum Location: This item is on view in Great Hall, 1st Floor
- Accession Number: 56.85
- Credit Line: Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
- Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
- Caption: 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
- Record Completeness: Best (88%)