British School at Athens

Delicate, smiling sphinxes—their human faces glowing with otherworldly contentment—grace this ivory plaque, which once adorned a piece of furniture. The composition of this scene resembles that of the Lion Gate, but here the ideological message is somewhat different: The three-inch-high sphinxes, carved from valuable imported ivory, suggest not so much the power of the king but the wealth and well-being of the kingdom over which he ruled.