The specific function of the plaque is unclear. Plaques of this type might have been used as furniture or casket fittings, as trade weights, as votive gifts, or as matrices. By pressing the stamp into clay or molten metal, high relief images and decorative motifs of this dramatic scene could be created. The plaque depicts a wild feline violently attacking his pray. The iconographic motifs of lions or felines attacking their prey, such as bulls, horses or stags, were widespread in the Near East and Ancient Persia and were believed to be a visual representation of victory and power. Depictions of bovines being attacked by lions might have been connected with Nowruz, the Persian New Year at the spring equinox, with the bull symbolising winter and the lion spring-summer.
Roman Near Eastern Plaque with Lion and Prey Relief
A finely modelled Roman-Near Eastern rectangular lead plaque featuring a raised relief of a lion taking down its prey. The image is in high relief, and the details of the lion’s eyes, claws, and mane can be clearly distinguished. The reverse appears flat and unworked.
Condition: Extremely fine and rare piece.