Seal in the shape of a female sphinx

Late Middle Kingdom to Early New Kingdom
1794–1492 B.C.


Height x width x depth: 1.1 x 0.7 x 1.5 cm (7/16 x 1/4 x 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This design amulet, or scaraboid, features a recumbent female sphinx with outstretched paws on the back and finely-carved hieroglyphs on the base. It is a rare sculpture in miniature and most likely depicts a New Kingdom queen. Both the neck of the queen and the upper torso of the beast have cross-hatched markings and there is a uraeus on the forehead, an indication of the figure’s royal status. A length-wise boring suggests that the amulet was once part of a larger adornment, such as a bracelet.


By 1947, Mr. Dows Dunham [see note 1]; June 21, 1991, by descent to his daughter, Mrs. Philippa Shaplin, Burlington, Vermont.

[1] According to his daughter, Mrs. Philippa Shaplin, the seal was most likely brought into the U.S. from Egypt by her father, Mr. Dows Dunham, by 1947. She discovered the seal in a curio cabinet that she had inherited from her parents.

Credit Line

Gift of Philippa D. Shaplin in memory of Dows Dunham