Female head (sphinx)

Greco-Roman Period

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 137.


21.5 x 13 cm (8 7/16 x 5 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble from Mt. Pentelikon near Athens

Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



The end of the nose is restored. The surfaces are slightly chipped, worn, and pitted. Otherwise, the condition is excellent. A yellowish patina covers the surfaces.
This is a Greco-Roman copy of an original made about 450 B.C. The hair of this somewhat severe female with full lips is parted over the forehead and brought back in wavy strands to a bun behind. Enough replicas of the complete statue of the seated sphinx or of the head alone are known to identify the prototype with Athens.

Scientific Analysis:
Harvard Lab No. HI771: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.60 / delta18O -7.22, Attribution - Pentelikon, Justification - Micaceous, fine grained marble.


By 1888: with R. Lanciani (according to Sculpture in Stone, entry 137: from the Scalambrini Sale); purchased by MFA from R. Lanciani, 1888, for $491.89 (this is the total purchase price for MFA 88.346–530)

Credit Line

Everett Fund