Lot 667: Phoenicio-Egyptian Carnelian Scarab Seal with Sphinx
December 7, 2016
Harwich, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 6th-4th century BC. A carved carnelian scarab with carinated upper face, intaglio scene to the underside of a reclining sphinx with a tall feathered crown in the company of a standing goddess with outstretched wings, a flying bird above the sphinx body. 6.51 grams, 24mm (1"). From a North London collection; formerly in the Rihani family collection, formed 1970-1980s. The sphinx is first found in ancient Egypt, where it is commonly seen with the head of a man, but also sometimes with that of an animal such as a hawk. The imagery later passed into Greek art where it is more often seen with the head of a woman. It is also present in the art and sculpture of the Mycenaean, Assyrian, Persian and Phoenician civilisations. In Egypt the sphinx is closely associated with the power of the Pharaoh, whereas in Greece it is seen more as a monster. In the Near East it has more of a guardian role and is found flanking the doorways to palaces and temples and decorating furniture.
Condition Report: Very fine condition. Important.