The Great Sphinx of Giza gazes eastward, over the River Nile—which, for millennia, was the source of life in the flat, sandy lands of the Giza Plateau. Some historians consider it the oldest surviving sculpture in the world, built around 2500 BC for the Pharaoh Khafre (and bearing that pharaoh's face). It was originally carved out of bedrock but has been restored (over the last 4,500 years) with blocks of stone. It stands 66 feet tall (at the head) and 240 feet long (head to tail).
These bookends are a stylized representation of the great sculpture—though reinterpreted though the lens of Art Deco fashion of the 1920's. When Tutankhamen's tomb was discovered (98 years ago, next week), it kicked-off a popular Egyptian Revival movement in art, architecture and home furnishings. These Sphinx Bookends coincided with the popularity of Egyptian design and history—though, let's be clear, they are not "authentic" to Egyptian design; rather they represent Egyptian design as re-interpreted by Westerners for the West.
In mythology, a sphinx was a winged monster bearing a woman's head upon a lion's body. She would ask passers-by a riddle and, if they could not answer it, she would devour them. Today, "a sphinx" is a mysterious person (usually an alluring woman) who closely guards her secrets—does not share openly her inner thoughts or plans. These bookends (unlike the Giza example), are clearly female. You may learn more about them by clicking on the photo above.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248