Falcon-headed sphinx recumbent on a pedestal with a ramp, and a feline(?) behind, possibly a gnomon for a shadow clock or instrument
- Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
- 664–30 B.C.
- From Egypt
- L. 6.9 × W. 1.6 × H. 3 cm (2 11/16 × 5/8 × 1 3/16 in.)
- Credit Line:
- Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
- Accession Number:
It has been suggested that this unusual piece is a gnomon, the element that casts a shadow in an instrument for measuring time by shadows. Ivory seems an unusual choice, but part of a shadow instrument preserved from Tanis and in the British Museum is also of ivory.
Possibly the sphinx with a falcon head might allude to Re, and the cat to his daughter the Eye of the Sun, their separation and coming together again being certainly associated with the large regular events like the inundation that structures the Egyptian year and life.