Female Sphinx

Petra Museum, Jordan

This architectural fragment was found near the Temenos Gate. A classical female head and upper torso project from the block, upon which is carved the wings of a bird and the lower body and tail of a lion. These chimeras are described in Greek mythology (such as the story of Oedipus) as fierce guardians of the crossroads; their protective function would be entirely appropriate to the gateway of Petra's Main Street.