Sphinx Plaques

Syrian Sphinx Plaques

Bronze Sphinxes Brought to Assyria as Booty

These sphinxes were originally hammered from one piece of bronze. They were brought to Nimrud, the capital of ancient Assyria as booty in the 8th century BC.

MET Excerpt

Plaques: sphinxes, 8th century B.C.; Syrian style

Bronze; H. 4.9 in. (12.4 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1953 (53.120.1-.2)


"The Levant and inland Syria were conquered in the eighth century B.C. by the Assyrian kings. Luxury goods, including carved ivory and metal objects, were produced by skilled Syrian and Phoenician craftsmen and came as tribute and booty to the Assyrian capital at Nimrud (ancient Kalhu). Hammered from a single sheet of bronze, these plaques depict mythical sphinxes, creatures with a human head and the body of a winged lion. Their striding pose suggests that they once may have been shown approaching one another. The flamelike pattern on the hind leg was a common device for representing musculature at this time and appears on ivories from Hama, Nimrud, and Hasanlu. The plaques may have been used as inlays for furniture, or they may have been set into a wall or door. Whatever their use, they are examples of the finest known Syrian bronzes from the first millennium B.C" - MET

Exodus 33:2 - And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:

Copyright © 2001 The Metropolitan Museum of Art - MET

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Bibliography on Ancient Art

The Art of Ancient Egypt, Revised by Robins, 272 Pages, Pub. 2008