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Submitted on
March 21, 2009
Image Size
8.9 MB


36,698 (7 today)
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The Criosphinx by Vyrilien 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.
Add a Comment:
dragonstorm Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014
Neat! I didn't even know there were other types of sphinxes in Egyptian mythology.
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I actually didn't either for the longest time! They're a little overlooked as far as mythological creature popularity goes ;)
magpie-poet Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013
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 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
wat up with the bird
hahaha jk the bird's fine
Nirhtak Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2012
The light is great! And I love the head, the wings, I love everything! :)
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! :D
Nirhtak Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012
NP :)
diphylla Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Featured Here: [link] :heart:
CorusTenebrae Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
great work <333
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! <3
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