Stone relief showing a sphinx

Achaemenid Persian, 5th century BC. From Palace H at Persepolis, south-west Iran. A guardian deity, originally protecting the royal Persian god. This male sphinx wears the imposing horned headdress of a divinity. Discovered at Persepolis by Colonel John MacDonald Kinneir during excavations in 1826, it was originally one of a pair flanking the winged disc figure of Ahura-Mazda, a god adopted as the Persian royal deity by Darius I (522-486 BC).

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