A Century with the Penn Museum's Sphinx

In 1913, a massive piece of granite arrived in Philadelphia that forever changed the scope of the Penn Museum’s collection.

This was the arrival of the Sphinx, an approximately 15-ton single piece of red granite from Memphis, Egypt. The Sphinx—the largest such stone sculpture in the Western Hemisphere and the sixth largest in the world—caused a stir when it landed in the city. According to a Philadelphia Inquirer article from October of 1913, "Its coming was unheralded and street car motorists, taxicab chauffeurs and pedestrians stopped all work to see the strange, solid sphinx, oblivious to the furor it was causing."

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Photos courtesy of Penn Museum