Greek, 475–450 BCE
Alabastron with Sphinx by the Red Dot Painter
The Greek sphinx is a monster of destruction and human misfortune. A hybrid creature, she has the head and breasts of a woman and body parts of numerous animals. Her role in the myth of Oedipus encapsulates her destructive nature, where she presents a riddle to all travelers and devours those who are unable to solve it. The sphinx’s role in this myth exemplifies the Greek conception of the woman as an unpredictable and volatile being.
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"I still remember the feeling of awe and disbelief when I was alone and walked in the room with those casts." --Ruth Tofle, chair of architecture, winner of the 2013 distinguished faculty award from the MU Alumni Association