BACTRIAN STONE LION
Measurements: with stand: 8.5 cm – height, 8.7 cm – width; without stand: 4.5 cm – height, 6 cm - width
Description: A very fine Bactrian lion carved out of steatite or chlorite. The item was probably attached as a decorative applique to a bronze utensil. The details of the pelt, feet and head of the lion are finely executed. There are traces of blue inlays near the back legs and the tail and minor traces of red inlays. There are two small holes on his head and back, which show traces of bronze inside and offer some clues on how it was attached to the utensil. They do not detract from the beauty or fine condition of the item. The item is mounted on a custom-made stand. Back flat and unworked. In the Near Eastern art images of lion were thought to have protective powers and were set up in passageways guarding ritual and royal spaces. They were also a metaphor of kingship – kings often referred to themselves as lions, taking the mantle of these fierce animals with combat prowess. Lion hunts were restricted to royalty and the images of lion hunts were affiliated with kings.
Reference: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Provenance: Property of a London gentleman, acquired from a major Mayfair gallery. Acquired on the London art market before 2000.
Period: 3rd – 2nd millennium BC
Condition: Very fine, earthly deposits cover the surface.