Eastern Greece, ca. 3rd to 2nd century BCE. A breathtaking sphinx finely carved from a veined marble of grey and white hues. The sphinx stands upon her lion hind paws and an integral molded base, with her chest nicely modeled and dramatically pushed forward, and her beautiful female head presenting a lovely visage comprised of generously lidded almond-shaped eyes, arched brows, a naturalistic nose, full lips, and a prominent chin - all topped by a wavy, curly coiffure that is elegantly twisted and tied with banana curl tendrils cascading over her shoulders. Above her head is a rectangular pillar with profiled moldings. Size: 33.5" H (85.1 cm)
Although the Great Sphinx of Giza is certainly the most famous, sphinxes have a large place in Classical mythology as well - probably because of the intermixing of Egyptian and Classical culture via trade routes across the Mediterranean. The Greek version of the sphinx, unlike the male Egyptian one, has the head of a human female, the body of a lioness, the wings of an eagle, and a serpent's tail.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; acquired at London auction, 15 September 2017, (Bertolami, Auction 36, London, La Galleria Pall Mall, lot 81 and published on p. 39 of catalogue); ex- property of a European gentleman living in London; acquired in the UK before 1980
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