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Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Head of a female sphinx

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This nearly life-sized head of a royal woman comes from a sphinx. The ancient Egyptians viewed sphinxes both as symbols of royal authority and as manifestations of the sun god. Accordingly, both male and female members of the royal family had themselves portrayed as sphinxes. Female sphinxes,...

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Said to be from Matariya. By 1982: Galerie Sycamore, Paris; 1984: sold to Jack A. Josephson; 2002: given to the MFA as a partial gift by Magda Saleh and Jack A. Josephson. (Accession Date: December 18, 2002)

Credit Line

Partial gift of Magda Saleh and Jack A. Josephson in honor of Dr. Rita E. Freed, Norma Jean Calderwood Curator of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian, and Near Eastern Art and museum purchase with funds from the Florence E. and Horace L. Mayer Funds, Egyptian Curator's Fund, Marilyn M. Simpson Fund, Norma Jean and Stanford Calderwood Discretionary Fund, Mr. and Mrs. James M. Vaughn, Jr., The Vaughn Foundation Fund, Egyptian Deaccession Fund, Mr. and Mrs. John H. Valentine, Jane Marsland and Judith A. Marsland Fund, Ernest Kahn Fund, Susan Cornelia Warren Fund, Samuel Putnam Avery Fund, Mary L. Smith Fund, John Wheelock Elliot and John Morse Elliot Fund, Mary E. Moore Gift, Mrs. James Evans Ladd, Frank Jackson and Nancy McMahon, Alice M. Bartlett Fund, Benjamin Pierce Cheney Donation, Frank M. and Mary T. B. Ferrin Fund, Meg Holmes Robbins, Mr. and Mrs. Mark R. Goldweitz, Allen and Elizabeth R. Mottur, Barbara and Joanne Herman, Clark and Jane Hinkley, Walter and Celia Gilbert, Mr. and Mrs. Gorham L. Cross, Mr. and Mrs. Miguel de Bragança, Honey Scheidt, Mr. and Mrs. G. Arnold Haynes and Margaret J. Faulkner

Egyptian, Middle Kingdom, mid-Dynasty 12, 1897–1878 B.C.

Object Place for Label


Said to be from Matariya, Egypt


Width x height x depth: 24 x 27 x 22 cm (9 7/16 x 10 5/8 x 8 11/16 in.)

Medium or Technique



The Ancient World