Fragmentary limestone sphinx

Greek, Attic

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 155

Painted decoration once enhanced the awe-inspiring features of this (now fragmentary) sphinx, a formidable creature with the body of a lion, the head of a woman, and wings. Details on the breast and wings were rendered in vibrant red ocher and blue-green azurite and malachite. The artist applied a white calcium-carbonate-based ground to the neck and used carbon-based black to articulate the hair. Holes atop the head held a separate polos (headdress). Originally the crowning element of a tall funerary monument, the figure served as a striking tomb guardian.

Fragmentary limestone sphinx, Limestone, Greek, Attic

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