Etruscan pyxis and lid with sphinx-shaped handle. Dates to between 650 and 625 BC (Orientalizing).
This pyxis (box) was fashioned in imitation of Phoenician luxury goods imported from the Near East. Although it incorporates many Near Eastern elements in its decoration, including sphinxes, a lotus plant, and chariots, the style of the figures shows it is clearly the product of a local Etruscan workshop. The handle of the lid takes the form of a standing sphinx wearing a lotus crown.
The 7th and early 6th centuries BC are known as the Orientalizing period because of the many eastern, or “Oriental,” elements in the art. In this prosperous era of international trade, Etruscan artists manufactured luxury goods, such as those seen in this case, that reflect influences from the art of the eastern Mediterranean.