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The Sphinx, And The Centaur
Wednesday, 6/30/2010

The Sphinx is an imaginary combination of the Human bust with the body of the Lion. It was originally an Egyptian invention. The colossal Sphinx of Memphis was begun under Cheops; it is hewn from the living rock, partly supplemented by masonry, and is more than 150 feet long.


The bust is generally a Woman´s; but in some cases it is a Ram head. The Sphinx is the guardian of temples and tombs, in front of which it is frequently ranged in avenues. In the Roman period: wings are added, probably through Assyrian influence; and the crouching position is sometimes exchanged for the half-erect. The Renascence uses Sphinxes in painting (as double sphinx also, with a single head and double body), and in free shapes as fire dogs, &c. The Barocco period adorns gardens and portals with crouching Sphinxes, (the castle garden at Schwetzingen contains a considerable number).

Centaurs are inmginary wild monsters, with the fore part of a Man and the hinder part of a Horse. Among the Greeks, the Centaur originally synnbolised the Thessalian race of equestrian. renown. Mythology recounts their struggles with the Lapithae. Later delineations, such as the mural paintings of Pompeii, depict the Centaurs less wild, tamed to the service of Dionysos, and sporting with Amorini and Bacchantes. The decorative capabilities of these fantastic figures has ensured them renewed application in later styles; and they are sometimes used in modern decoration.

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