This pair of spelter female Sphinxes are from the Victorian era. They represents the sphinx from Greek mythology rather than Egyptian. They are constructed from spelter a white metal alloy and have a golden brown bronze patina wash. The pair of Sphinxes sit in a relaxed feline position, front paws resting on a scroll. There are decorative details across the chest or breast plate and they wear a headdress called a neme. They have a nice weight (approximately 3 lbs each) and measures approximately 6 1/4” in length by 6 1/4 ” tall by 4” at its widest point. The pair could serve as book ends given their weight.
In Greek mythology there is only one sphinx. She has the head of woman and the body of a lion. She dwells outside the city of Thebes. A ferocious and feared being, she makes travelers answer her riddles in order to pass into the city. If they answer incorrectly, she devours them. In this story, she takes her own life after Oedipus answers both her riddles correctly. Scholars believe this represents a transition in Greek literary tradition from old religious practices (symbolized by the sphinx) to the new one of Olympian deities, represented by Oedipus.
Today, sphinx are often depicted as protectors of architectural structures. In a modern home, they too might be thought of in this way. Dwelling outside a city, she filters who passes inside. These pieces has a nice presence, and would be a wonderful addition to any home to serve as a guardian.
A Victorian Pair of Spelter Female Sphinxes