Sphinx of Amenhotep III, possibly from a Model of a Temple
reign of Amenhotep III
ca. 1390–1352 B.C.
From Egypt; Possibly from Upper Egypt, Thebes, Karnak
Faience, remains of a travertine (Egyptian alabaster) tenon
l. 25.1 cm (9 7/8 in); w. 13.3 cm (5 1/4 in); h. 13.3 cm (5 1/4 in)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1972
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 119
Even without the inscription, the facial features of this faience sphinx would identify it as Amenhotep III. The graceful body of the lion transforms quite naturally into human forearms and hands. In this form, the sphinx combines the protective power of the lion with the royal function of offering to the gods. The even tone of the fine blue glaze and the almost flawless condition of this sculpture make it unique among ancient Egyptian faience statuettes. Another small faience sphinx from a later period may be seen in gallery 127 (1990.25).
Other sphinx statues in the collection are on display in gallery 118 (30.8.72), gallery 116 (08.202.6), gallery 115 (31.3.94, 31.3.167), gallery 111 (17.9.2), and gallery 131 (31.3.166).
Collection of Howard Carter, acquired by 1936. Collection Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, from 1939. Placed at auction at Sotheby, Parke-Bernet, New York, 1972, and obtained by the museum following the auction after the withdrawal of higher bidders.
Metropolitan Museum of Art 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, p. 49.