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The Criosphinx

By Vyrilien
The Criosphinx

The Sphinx is a traditional monster with the body of a lion, and the head of either a human, falcon or ram invented by the Egyptians of the Old Kingdom, before being imported in Greek mythology. The name sphinx comes from the Greek sphiggein Σφινξ — Sphinx, apparently from the verb σφινγω — sphingo, meaning ‘to draw tight’ or more loosly translated: ‘to strangle’.

There are three types of sphinx in Egyptian statuary.

- Androsphinx
The typical lion with a human face/head. Rarely was the Egyptian sphinx portrayed as a female. When it was, it symbolized Isis and/or the reigning queen. Most usually it had the head of the reigning Pharaoh.
- Criosphinx
Criosphinx is Greek for "ram-headed sphinx", referring to a figure with the body of a lion and the head of a ram. It’s unknown what Egyptians called these figures. The Criosphinx is said to have represented Amun, the God of Creation.
- Hieracosphinx
A sphinx with the head of a falcon or hawk.

The Greek Sphinx whose name became applied to the Egyptian figures was a singular demon with a lion's body and a woman's head, plus the wings of an eagle and a serpent tail.

So yeah, this took some time. More than it should have, but I'll save you some ranting. Grrrr, wings... background... Oh, but please DO TELL if this thing looks either too dark or too bright on your monitor. I can adjust it :)

EDIT: Thanks so much for all the helpful critiques! I fixed the shadows here and there, adjusted the lighting on the body in comparison to the tail and I worked some subtle warm/cold contrast into it. I really tried to implement all of the points mentioned, but I did have the image retain a similar look, so sorry if you don't notice anything.


Medium: Corel Painter Essentials 2, Photoshop CS2 and a Wacom Intuos 2
Time Taken: Several weeks. I estimate about 45 hours of work.
Image details
Image size
4500x5000px 8.88 MB
© 2009 - 2021 Vyrilien
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TrottingPeryton's avatar
It's not too often I come across sphinxes like this. Very well done.
Vyrilien's avatar
dragonstorm's avatar
Neat! I didn't even know there were other types of sphinxes in Egyptian mythology.
pookiesaurus4's avatar
Yeah, I guess there are many species (or possibly subspecies) of sphinx
Vyrilien's avatar
I actually didn't either for the longest time! They're a little overlooked as far as mythological creature popularity goes ;)
magpie-poet's avatar
That's awesome.

I once saw a beautiful (surprisingly more realistic than normal for egyptian) scupture of a different variant. It was a hawk headed crocodile. I don't know if it was a proper sphinx or not, but it was striking.
lordcthuhulu666's avatar
wat up with the bird
hahaha jk the bird's fine
Nirhtak's avatar
The light is great! And I love the head, the wings, I love everything! :)
Vyrilien's avatar
breeanns's avatar
CorusTenebrae's avatar
Vyrilien's avatar
happyblueimp's avatar
Beautiful colors and detail! Very well done!
Vyrilien's avatar
Thank you very much! :)
happyforme1's avatar
This is yours?!?! :love:
I've seen his before somewhere, I just forgot where!... and then I stumbled upon it today! I'm so happy!
Vyrilien's avatar
Reading your comment made me smile, also because it sounds so familiar. I've often 'lost' artists, because I couldn't remember their usernames anymore and finding them again is like finding money in your pocket, haha :D I'm so happy you like my work! :hug:
EverythingSol's avatar
The Greek Sphinx is called "manticore" :D
Vyrilien's avatar
Actually, the Manticore is a different creature from the Greek sphinx though they share some the similar features of having a human face and being lion-like in body. The Manticore is a legendary creature from Persian mythology, a human faced red lion with rows of teeth and a spiked tail. The Greek sphinx was singular and mostly known from the Oedipean myth. :) (sorry for the wall of text, I'm a little obsessed XD)
EverythingSol's avatar
Yeah yeah I regretted commenting on that after i posted it ><;;
I'm sorry! LOL XD
Vyrilien's avatar
Oh nono, don't worry about it, haha! :D I just like ranting about mythology
EverythingSol's avatar
Nothing's wrong with ranting~
wakedreaming's avatar
A very beautiful piece. The wings and the lighting are amazing. It all fits together so smoothly. Absolutely lovely!
Vyrilien's avatar
Thank you! I'm so happy you like this image :)
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