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Statuette of a Sphinx from a Barque Standard


Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 21–22, about 984–715 BCE



About this artwork

The creature here combines a ferocious lion’s body with a king’s head to form a divine guardian called a sphinx. Small metal sphinxes like this one were affixed to barques (boats) that carried the cult statues of gods and goddesses when they were brought out of their temples during religious festivals. Here, two rearing cobras flank the sphinx’s paws to help it ward off threats to the deity whose statue was set in a shrine at the center of the barque, shielded from view.


On View, Gallery 50


Arts of Africa


Ancient Egyptian


Statuette of a Sphinx from a Barque Standard


Egypt (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 984 BCE–715 BCE


Copper alloy


21.8 × 3.1 × 16.6 cm (8 9/16 × 1 3/16 × 6 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Henry H. Getty, Charles L. Hutchinson, and Robert H. Fleming

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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