Pyxis and lid with sphinx-shaped handle

Etruscan650-625 BC (Orientalizing)

The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

This pyxis (box) was fashioned in imitation of Phoenician luxury goods imported from the Near East. Although it incorporates many Near Eastern elements in its decoration, including sphinxes, a lotus plant, and chariots, the style of the figures shows it is clearly the product of a local Etruscan workshop. The handle of the lid takes the form of a standing sphinx wearing a lotus crown. The 7th and early 6th centuries BC are known as the Orientalizing period because of the many eastern, or "Oriental," elements in the art. In this prosperous era of international trade, Etruscan artists manufactured luxury goods, such as those seen in this case, that reflect influences from the art of the eastern Mediterranean.


  • Title: Pyxis and lid with sphinx-shaped handle
  • Date Created: 650-625 BC (Orientalizing)
  • Physical Dimensions: w10.5 x h14.1 x d10.35 cm
  • Type: pyxes; boxes
  • Rights: Acquired by Henry Walters, 1910, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: ivory
  • Provenance: Regolini-Galassi Tomb, Cerveteri, 1877; Martinetti Collection; Dr. Bourguignon and M. Canessa; Bourguignon and Canessa Sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 19-21, 1910, no. 338; Dirkan Kelekian, Paris and New York (?); Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1910, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Place of Discovery: Cerveteri, Italy
  • ExhibitionHistory: Ivory: The Sumptuous Art. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1983-1984
  • Artist: Etruscan

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