Head from a Female Sphinx
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: 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
Archaeological provenance not yet documented, reportedly from Rome, Italy, possibly from Hadrian's villa, Tivoli, Italy; by the 18th century, acquired by Cardinal Albani of Rome; by 1772, acquired by William Petty, Marquess of Landsdowne, United Kingdom; between 1772 and 1930, provenance not yet documented; March 5, 1930, reportedly sold at Christie's, London, United Kingdom, "The Celebrated Collection of Ancient Marbles, The Property of the Most Honourable The Marquess of Lansdowne"; between 1930 and 1956, provenance not yet documented; before 1956, acquired by George Williams; before 1956, purchased from George Williams by Peter Wilson, Sotheby's; by 1956, acquired by Spink and Son, Ltd., London, United Kingdom; 1956, purchased from Spink and Son, Ltd by the Brooklyn Museum.
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 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 56.85_front_SL1.jpg)
front, 56.85_front_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.