• r2-239-10
    Sphinx, presumably part of a throne or seat, Istanbul Archaeological Museum 4031, left profile. (İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzesi’nin şahsi fotoğrafı)
  • r2-239-20
    Sphinx, presumably part of a throne or seat, Istanbul Archaeological Museum 4031, right profile. (İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzesi’nin şahsi fotoğrafı)
  • r2-239-30
    Sphinx, presumably part of a throne or seat, Istanbul Archaeological Museum 4031, front. (İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzesi’nin şahsi fotoğrafı)

Sfenks, muhtemelen bir tahtı veya koltuğu

480-450 BC, Geç Lidya (Pers)
İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzeleri, 4031
Müze Envanter No.
Sardeis veya Müze Env. No.
IAM 4031
Mermer, Taş
Eserin Türü
Heykelin Türü
Bulunduğu Yeri
Sardis, came to the museum in Sept. 1924, at the same time as sculpture from the first Sardis expedition.

The seated sphinx is partly in the round, partly in relief. A rectangular slab has been worked so that the forelegs and frontal lower part of the body stand free. Behind the head (now lost) and upper part of the body the background was retained and worked carefully with claw chisel. The forepart is rounded and heavy, with two shallow but rounded female breasts. The concave wing issues without break from the body; presumably its feathers were painted. Rather short locks or thin tresses (best seen on proper l.) fall down the neck, longer, twisted ones down on the chest. Strongly marked ribs appear on the lower body. The tail passes below and around the l. haunch, then rises snake-like in a forward curve ending in a large oval tuft. Paws are carefully characterized with knuckles on top, small sharp claws coming out below. Like the forepart and wing, the haunches are large, soft, and well-smoothed.

The Sardis sphinx is clearly later than the archaic Attic sphinxes or the Eastern Greek. She retains, however, the archaic decorative incurving wing. Her leonine anatomy is less developed than that of the mid-5th C. sphinx from Aegina and her human breasts much less marked than those of the sphinxes on the "Lycian" sarcophagus from Sidon of ca. 420 B.C. (Picard, Manuel 11.1, 82, fig. 37; 11.2, 892, fig. 362; Guide illustre Istanbul, 43, pl. 9). As the top of our sphinx slab was flat (and had dowels?), the piece may have supported the seat of the throne and possibly the arms (cf. Cat. 41, Cat. 242 Figs. 142-145).


Marble, reddish discoloration.

Head, forelegs, back part of slab, bits from I. wing and I. haunch missing. Part of plinth with forepaws and large parts of proper r. wing, body, haunch, and background broken off.

H. 0.64; L. 0.52; Th. 0.18.
For archaic Attic sphinxes see Richter, Archaic Gravestones, figs. 34-65, 110-122; Eastern Greek, H. Schleif, Grosse Altar 58 (1933) 185, fig. 10, Beil. 55:2 (Rhoikos altar, Samos) and Aziz, Guide Smyrne, nos. 110-111, p. 36, photo no. 7 ("vicinity of Didyma"). For the contrast of lean ribs and opulent flesh, cf. the lion by the Syriskos Painter, Willemsen, Lowenkopf-Wasserspeier, 4, 39, pl. 5. Nearest among sphinx thrones are Richter, Furniture of the Greeks, 86, thrones with solid sides, fig. 145 (Cyprus), fig. 433 (Etruscan).
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