Female head (sphinx)
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 137.
21.5 x 13 cm (8 7/16 x 5 1/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble from Mt. Pentelikon near Athens
Not On View
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.
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)