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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.
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)
ACCESSION NUMBER 56.85
CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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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
IMAGE right, 56.85_right_side_print_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (88%)
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