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Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description The elaborate earring depicts a Sphinx with a female head, pronounced breasts, and a bird's body with raised wings seated on a trapezoidal base. She is heavily adorned, with a necklace, straps crossing between the breasts, and multiple garnets. The large, central stone of her headdress is missing, but above she is wearing the crown of the Egyptian goddess Hathor, consisting of a sun-disc inscribed in cow horns with two plumes above. Outside of the myths, the apotropaic character of the Sphinx as well as of other monsters such as griffins, sirens, and the Medusa could transform them into guardians and protectors, and make them in this case even into an appropriate motif for jewelry.
Date Description Narrative
6/15/1983Loan Considerationexamined for loan
  • Jewelry - Ancient to Modern. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1979-1980.
  • Objects of Adornment: Five Thousand Years of Jewelry from the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio; Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa; Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota. 1984-1987.
  • Jewelry from the Walters Art Gallery and the Zucker Family Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1987.
  • From Alexander to Cleopatra: Greek Art of the Hellenistic Age. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988-1989.
  • Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville; San Diego Museum Of Art, San Diego; Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA), New York. 2009-2011.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date of acquisition unknown], by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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1st century BC (Hellenistic)
gold, garnet
(Gold, Silver & Jewelry)
Accession Number
H: 1 15/16 x W: 11/16 x D: 5/8 in. (4.9 x 1.7 x 1.6 cm)


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