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The Lydian Treasure

Couch Supports in the Form of Seated Sphinexes


a) Height 64.5 cm.
Length at base 70 cm.
Width at base 16.5 cm.

b) Height 71 cm.
Length at base 62 cm.
Width at base 26 cm.

Usak Museum

The two seated sphinxes are worked in one with their low rectangular bases. They form a pain and are almost identical. Both have been repaired from several broken pieces, and one (a) is more fragmentary than the other, with pieces missing from the top, the back, and the figure's right side. The upper surface of each body is horizontal and smooth, to accommodate the bed. The digits of the massive paws are well articulated. The curling tail is indicated on both sides of the body. The major differences are in the hair; on both, the hair is waved, with a centre parting, but the less fragmentary sphinx (b) has two locks of hair hanging over each shoulder and the hair is worked at the back of the head, while the other has a single lock of hair hanging over each shoulder (both damaged) and the back of the head has been smoothed but no hair is rendered. Both bear traces of dark red paint on the hair and the back of the head, and paint survives on the right side of the more complete sphinx; parallel black lines on the wing mark the feathers, and the feathers themselves were coloured with the red and blue-green paint; on the body below the wing are traces of red and brown paint.

Legs in the form of seated sphinxes were conventional, if not ordinary, for Greek thrones and klinai. At least one example which appears to have belonged to a kline is known from Sardis (Istanbul Archaeological Museums 4031). "Sphinx legged" (sphingopous) was a term in Greek (used, for example, by the Hellenistic writer Kallixeinos, ap. Athenaeus V.197a) for legs of golden klinai in the pavilion of Pompey 11(282-246 BC) at Alexandria.


This site prepared by Tayfun Kalyoncu on 28.02.1997 and last updated on 01.05.1999.
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