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Fragment of a Head of a Colossal Lion

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Ancient Middle Eastern Art, The Hagop Kevorkian Gallery, 3rd Floor
The Achaemenid rulers of Persia (modern Iran) established an empire that lasted from 559 b.c. until it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 330 b.c. By that time, the Persian Empire controlled an area extending from Egypt through present-day Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey into India. The Achaemenid kings built huge palace complexes at Persepolis and Pasargadae in southern Iran and hired craftsmen from throughout the world to decorate them with sculpture and reliefs.

This fragmentary lion’s head—representing an eye and part of the muzzle—was part of the decoration of a palace. The modeling of its facial folds is highly stylized and, as on all Achaemenid representations of lions, its mouth is open to snarl or roar.

MEDIUM Bituminous Limestone
  • Place Made: Iran
  • DATES 5th-4th century B.C.E.
    PERIOD Persian Period
    DIMENSIONS 8 7/8 x 9 13/16 in. (22.6 x 25 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Collection of Robin B. Martin
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Fragment of a Head of a Colossal Lion, 5th-4th century B.C.E. Bituminous Limestone, 8 7/8 x 9 13/16 in. (22.6 x 25 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Collection of Robin B. Martin, L54.3. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, L54.3_view1_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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