Terracotta head of a woman, probably a sphinx

Period: Archaic

Date: 1st quarter of the 5th century B.C.

Culture: Greek

Medium: Terracotta

Dimensions: H. 8 1/8 in. (20.7 cm)

Classification: Terracottas

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1947

Accession Number: 47.100.3


Terracotta sculpture of large scale and high quality is rare in Greek art of the mainland as against that of southern Italy, for example. The proportions and the break at the neck suggest that this exceptionally fine head belonged to a sphinx, possibly the akroterion of a small building. (Akroteria decorated the apex and corners of roofs.) Of particular interest also is the way polychromy is used for such details as the earrings and the headband.