Marble sphinx on a cavetto capital

Greek, Attic

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 153

Inscribed on the plinth, I am the monument of [...]linos

This sphinx and capital once crowned the tall grave shaft of a youth or man named Philinos or Thalinos. They belong to the earliest type of grave stele produced in Attica during the sixth century B.C. Stylistically, the sphinx is related to such early statues as the kouros (youth) displayed in the gallery to your left. It has the same four-sided structure with grooved indications of anatomical forms and large, flat, stylized features. In the early Archaic period, Greek sculptors learned much from the Egyptians about carving large-scale stone monuments. The simple concave form of this capital imitates the cavetto molding often found in Egyptian architecture.

Marble sphinx on a cavetto capital, Marble, Greek, Attic

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