When an Egyptian deity was taken on procession its statue was placed in a shrine on a small boat (called a barque) which was carried by the priests. As well as the main deity there was also an entourage, including a sphinx like this one mounted on a pole at the prow.
The Ancient Egyptians called it a “sib”, and it stands poised and alert ready to defend the deity in the shrine – it was described as “trampling the sun god’s enemies”. Accompanying it on its stand are two snakes with raised heads, also protective symbols.
Even though the description references the sun god, I think these sibs appeared on barques carrying other deities – rather than being literal it’s intended to reference the night and day voyages of the sun god in his boat, as are detailed in the Egyptian funerary texts.
It’s not known where it was found, but it dates to the 26th Dynasty (c.600 BCE) and is now in the Met Museum (acc. no.: 2011.96)
See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1594/category/6
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