© Erich Lessing

The sphinx, a mythological creature with the body of a lion and a human head, is shown here in royal costume. Sometimes the sphinx has wings, as does this one on a ninth- or eighth-century B.C. plaque from Samaria. This sphinx wears the flattened royal double crown of Egypt; she also has a curled wig and wears a “Phoenician apron.” The relief technique used is called ajouré or openwork—in places, the ivory is completely carved away.