Pyramidal seal with two-headed sphinx

Near Eastern, Iranian, Persian
Achaemenid Period
550–331 B.C.


Length: 17 mm (11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



Intaglio. Pierced for stringing. Chalcedony is burnt giving the stone a chalky, white color. Significant chip of seal surface and body of seal. Scene is carved on the horizontal axis. Seated sphinx facing left with an additional head of Bes. Body of the sphinx is in profile. The Bes head is raised and depicted frontally and wearing a tall, vertically fluted, spiky tiara. The second head, a lion head, is lying down and seen from a bird’s eye view. A significant chip obscures the body of the sphinx. At left there is a linear device that looks like a backwards F.


By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to his records: bought in Greece); loaned to MFA by Edward Perry Warren, October 28, 1925 (as 561.25); purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren, November 17, 1927 for $ 161,000.00 (this figure is the total price for MFA 27.647-27.761)

Credit Line

Francis Bartlett Donation of 1912