A French Renaissance walnut chest, the front panel carved with two Greek sphinxes holding a stretched towel in their mouths over a bowl of fruit.  Geometric and various other carving elsewhere.  Circa 1600.  Made of thick solid walnut.  


Condition: Sturdy and strong.  Base molding is an old replacement, and a repaired strip was later added to the back edge of the top to strengthen the attachment of the hinges. Original hinges, but lock and lock hasp have been removed.


The sphinxes carved on this chest are similar to the marble Greek Sphinx of Naxians (shown in photo), originally erected next to the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, now in the Archaeological Museum of Delphi.  The Greek sphinx, a lion with the face of a human female, was considered as having ferocious strength, and was thought of as a guardian, often flanking the entrances to temples. Sphinxes depictions are generally associated with architectural structures such as royal tombs or religious temples.

French Renaissance walnut chest, circa 1600 (Q06)